Freedom For All Ireland Report – May 2018

by Martin Galvin
NYAOH FFAI Chair

A chairde:

FFAI ISSUES UPDATE

A-False claims raise Legacy Consultation concerns- British Prime Minister Theresa May’s patently untrue claims that British crown forces were the only ones being investigated for legacy killings, sparked charges that she misled Parliament, and raised concerns about legacy bad faith. Statistically investigations of British killings amounted to less than a third. Unlike Republicans such as Gerry McGeough and Seamus Kearney, no British trooper has been jailed. May’s appointee Karen Bradley published a consultation paper for hundreds of legacy killings, outlining four devices: (1) Historical Investigations Unit-(HIU),taking over investigations done by the Ombudsman and Historical Enquiries Team; (2) Independent Commission on Information Retrieval (ICIR)for private requests by family members about the deaths of loved ones; (3) Oral History Archive (OHA) collecting research and new and existing oral history on the Troubles; (4) Implementation and Reconciliation Group (IRG) to review implementation. Bradley took plans Britain agreed in the 2014 Stormont House Agreement and put them up for renegotiation, then offered 150 million pounds in legacy funding, set aside years ago but never released. Bradley echoed May’s false claims and said “that is why we needed a consultation”.

Nationalists and human rights groups reacted angrily. Relatives for Justice and the Pat Finucane Centre took out a half-page ad in the GUARDIAN NEWSPAPER publicly charging that May had misled Parliament. She was even refuted by former Justice Minister David Ford, current Victims Commissioner Judith Thompson and PSNI constabulary statistics. May’s rhetoric raised questions about whether Britain intended the new legacy mechanisms to give truth to victims or cover to crown forces. A potential national security blanket, DUP veto, or quota on investigations of British killings which ignores collusion, provide opportunities for a state forces cover-up. Meanwhile the British have refused to stop veterans groups from instructing former troopers to ignore requests for cooperation by the Ballymurphy Massacre Inquest.

B-Foster wants military covenant as Stormont absence hits 500 days- Democratic Unionist Party head Arlene Foster wants the “military covenant” in the north as another concession to get talks restarted, 500 days since the collapse of the Stormont Assembly. The military covenant would give preference to former British troopers and Ulster Defense Regiment members in housing, school placements, and medical waiting lists etc. Martin McGuinness resigned over Foster’s refusal to stand aside while her Renewable Heat Initiative, “money to burn” scandal was under investigation. Foster approved a plan which pays a profit to burn fuel, costing 500 million pounds. She blames her advisors. Talks had ended in a Valentine’s Day breakup after a compromise that would have allowed an Irish language act with Ulster Scots and an overriding Respecting Languages Bill. That compromise dropped objections to Foster, despite the continuing inquiry. Now Foster wants more concessions. 

C-Corbin neutrality not enough for Unionists- Jeremy Corbin, of the British Labour Party made his first visit to the north since becoming leader of the opposition. He was slammed by unionists for saying he would be neutral in any border poll under the terms of the Good Friday agreement and that he regretted all deaths in the conflict, without one-sided condemnation of the IRA. Corbin, who had visited the north and Sinn Fein during the conflict, took pains to state that he was not advocating a border poll and that he was against all violence. He was merely saying he would abide by the agreement. However this even-handedness brought angry reaction from Unionists, led by Gregory Campbell of the DUP who wanted a special meeting with relatives of those killed by Republicans. Campbell is one of ten DUP MPs propping up Theresa May as Prime Minister.    

D-RUC partied in the back of Loughgall death van-A former member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary bragged about holding parties in the bullet-ridden van where IRA Volunteers were killed by the SAS in a May 1987 ambush. The revelation was posted on a Facebook page administered by former SAS members. It appeared alongside photographs of the van and slain Volunteers. Eight IRA members and a civilian were killed in the incident now due for a legacy inquest. Some members of this feared IRA Unit were believed shot after capture. The van was hit by 125 bullets. The post boasted that RUC members held parties in the van during continuity training in 1988, while a former SAS member posted underneath “it was one of the best nights of my career”. Relatives of the dead were shocked and hurt. A sister of one of those killed, Mairead Kelly said it was “depraved” and “no one with common decency would make fun of the dead”. Brian Arthurs said his brother Declan “gave his life in a struggle for the freedom of his country.” Meanwhile, the DUP continues to condemn dignified commemorations for slain IRA members.

REMEMBERING PATRIOTS WITH PRIDE

Special congratulations to George McLaughlin, Seamus Boyle and all of those who helped dedicate headstones for Thomas Darragh and Robert Cranston, two of the six Fenians rescued in a great escape from imprisonment in Australia and brought safely back to America on the Catalpa. The ceremony took place on May 5, 2018 in Philadelphia.

Congratulations also to all those in Suffolk County who were responsible for the Thomas Clarke-Kathleen Daly Clarke and who were honored by the Tyrone AOH in Thomas Clarke’s hometown of Dungannon. A full account of the ceremony is posted on the New York State web site and am arranging to deliver their plaque from Ireland.

On July 22, 2018 the anniversary of Robert Emmet’s rebellion, there will be a special rededication and unveiling of a monument to the Emmet family in Beechwood Cemetery, New Rochelle at 3pm.

The family plot includes the graves of Thomas Addis Emmet, a United Irishman leader, among other family members who were patriots of Ireland as well as the United States. There will be a reception afterwards at the Heritage on McLean Avenue. For information call-718-877-0345.

YOUR FFAI EFFORTS ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE!

Having just returned from Ireland, I was deeply moved by how much our AOH FFAI work has meant to victims of British rule. At a meeting with Mark Thompson in Dungannon about a dozen families turned up. Each of them mentioned how important Mark’s Emergency Tour in January, the Congressional letter, and Congressional hearing were to them. They feel they have been told lies and stonewalled by the British for decades, when they ask for the truth about the murders of their loved ones. These families think that the British will use the DUP to cancel out any pressure for justice in the north, but that American pressure can make a difference.

These families, who have suffered so much, are grateful for our AOH FFAI help and are counting on us to continue. Mark is willing to return and also to enlist speakers from families of campaigns like the Ballymurphy Massacre which will be making headlines as the inquest begins this fall.

Every County who hosted an event last year had a tremendous success. I would like to host more tours and need your help for venues so I can propose something for our State President’s approval.

Looking forward to the National Convention, meeting FFAI leaders from around the Country and sharing some of the ideas that have worked for us in New York with other states!    

Please contact me at MGALVINESQ@AOL.COM.

Slan
Martin Galvin

Freedom For All Ireland Report – February 2018

by Martin Galvin
NYAOH FFAI Chair

A chairde:

FFAI ISSUES UPDATE

A-Valentine’s Day break-up at Stormont Assembly talks- Talks between the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Fein to end the 13 month Stormont stalemate broke off, with Arlene Foster claiming “no current prospect” of any deal, and Michelle O’Neill saying the DUP collapsed the talks. The breakup came after British Prime Minister Theresa May and Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar traveled to Belfast for an expected signing.

Between an understanding reached Friday, and the arranged signing on Monday, unionist hysteria over leaked proposals of an Irish language act made Foster and the DUP back out, later denying any draft agreement.

The thirteen page draft agreement was then published by journalist Eamon Mallie and can be read on his website. Sinn Fein would accept Foster as First Minister, despite the ‘money to burn’ heating scandal that caused Martin McGuinness’ resignation. An Irish language act would have been included as one of three language bills, alongside an overriding “Respecting Language and Diversity Bill” and Ulster-Scots Bill. Legacy inquest funding and legacy mechanism funding would be covered separately by the British government. The DUP now denies agreeing to anything and called on the British to implement direct rule. Eileen Paisley, widow of DUP founder Ian Paisley blamed current party leaders for “creating this mess.”

B-Time for Truth March in Belfast-Thousands of victims’ families and campaigners converged on Belfast City Hall, demanding truth about murders of their loved ones. Many of the marchers carried crosses or large pictures with the names of murdered loved ones. Marchers from a number of victims’ campaigns joined together to slam the British government for giving the DUP a veto on legacy justice. John Teggart of the Ballymurphy Massacre families said the rally was about “telling the Government that people’s right to the truth is not some bargaining chip for political talks.” He called on the crown to release inquest funding requested by Chief Justice Declan Morgan. Mark Thompson of Relatives for Justice, said it was wrong for the British government to say “if you guys can get a deal we will give victims their rights… these rights are obligations under the European Convention and Human Rights Act.”

C-Brexit border plan rejected by May and DUP- Legal proposals by the European Union to avoid customs and immigration barriers across the six counties after Brexit, were rejected by Theresa May and denounced by the DUP. The proposal by EU negotiator Michael Barnier in Brussels, was based on a December agreement between May and the European Commission President. The EU and Irish government want a common regulatory area with no internal borders and free movement of goods as a ‘backstop’ or ‘default’ arrangement, if a full trade deal or technological solution to the border could not be devised. May said no British “Prime Minister could ever agree to it” and Arlene Foster called it “economically catastrophic”. Ireland and the EU noted that the British still have no real alternative to a hard border.

DNewry parade battle for Irish flag-Following the successful fight against St. Patrick’s Day Parade bans on the Irish flag in Strabane and Derry, Newry has taken up the battle. Councillor Stephen Murney called the ban an “attempt to suppress and erode any display of Irish culture and heritage on a day of worldwide recognition of Irish culture”. In this heavily nationalist town marchers have been told that they are forbidden to carry the Irish national flag or even a flag with four provinces. Marchers are now threatening to defy the ban or boycott unless this ban is lifted.         

ENGLAND GET OUT OF IRELAND BANNERS

Rules of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade allow only two banners between the Irish and American flags. The only banners allowed are those identifying marching units and “England Get Out of Ireland”. These banners are a key theme of our parades. Once “Erin go Bragh” flags were used and were revolutionary. “Ireland forever” meant an Irish nation would exist and one day be free, outlasting British rule. This idea, often outlawed in Ireland, was carried proudly in American parades, where patriots among them Tom Clarke, John Devoy, O’Donovan Rossa etc would pledge to make it so and did.

Today the words “England Get Out of Ireland” signal our support for those still denied freedom for all Ireland. The words note that British rule serves English interests. Brexit, the DUP  veto, and the denial of legacy truth for those murdered by British crown forces or their agents are prime examples. 

IRELAND’S 1918 FREEDOM MANDATE

 The 1916 Easter Rising and Proclamation of an Irish Republic on April 24,1916 was a historic event. This year Ireland will celebrate another centenary without which 1916 would have lost much of its meaning.

The British, joined by the Irish papers and establishment politicians of the day denied any popular support for the Rising or an Irish Republic. The Irish party leader at the time John Redmond even told Westminster that the Irish people regarded 1916 “with utter detestation and horror”. They hoped to make 1916 one more unsuccessful rising, to be forgotten. Over the next two years all of that changed utterly.

Events like the executions, brutal treatment of those interned, death of Thomas Ashe, campaigns for prisoner candidates, ballads, and poets would awaken Ireland to the true meaning of 1916 and the Proclamation. At the 1918 British General Election, Ireland voted a mandate for freedom, by choosing representatives who pledged to go a free Irish parliament or Dail Eireann instead of Westminster.

At our New York State Convention the AOH resolved to remember and commemorate Ireland’s 1918 mandate for freedom. FFAI encourages this theme for speakers at Easter Commemorations or other appropriate occasions. Under the leadership of our worthy New York State President Vic Vogel we are even hoping to get a formal recognition at the State Legislature.

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!!!

Please contact me at MGALVINESQ@AOL.COM.

Slan
Martin Galvin

Freedom For All Ireland Report – January 2018

by Martin Galvin
NYAOH FFAI Chair

MARK THOMPSON – RELATIVES FOR JUSTICE
AOH TOUR FOR VICTIMS’ FAMILIES

Click to view event photos

Mark Thompson ended a week long emergency American tour which generated a new Congressional initiative, five public events and formal proclamations of support by the New York State Senate, Assembly and local governments. Sponsored by the New York State Board Ancient Order of Hibernians, the tour brought together other Irish American organizations, and commitments to help Relatives for Justice and the victims they represent break the deadlock on legacy truth.

The emergency tour was an AOH response to crown moves to give British troopers and constabulary an amnesty, while denying Inquest Courts and Ombudsmen investigators needed funding. Mark Thompson  made an emergency appeal for American help, noting that the AOH and Irish-American grassroots had been a driving force behind every American initiative for Irish justice.

Before his first public meeting, Mr. Thompson held the first of several prearranged telephone briefings, beginning with Congressman Richard Neal’s office. These briefings would climax  in a meeting with Congressman Joe Crowley and a proposal for a new Congressional initiative to support legacy victims.

SUFFOLK

Mark Thompson’s first public address took place at the Suffolk County AOH Hall, in Babylon, Long Island, hosted by New York State AOH President Victor Vogel. AOH officers including Past State President Jim Burke, Suffolk County President Jerry Belmont and Nassau County President Pete Begley packed the hall, alongside relatives of legacy victims. Chris Thompson of the Suffolk County Brehon Law Society, and noted MacBride Principles campaigner Patrick Doherty, now with New York State Comptroller DiNapoli’s office, also attended. Here RFJ received the first of many legislative Proclamations of support for its work, sponsored by New York State Senator Phil Boyle.

New York Freedom-for-all-Ireland Chair, Martin Galvin noted:

“the phrase to get away with murder was literally true of British policy. British crown forces, or their paid agents who colluded and carried out murders, were shielded. Now as Relatives for Justice threatens to use British justice mechanisms to get truth for these victims, the British are starving their own courts, inquest judges and Ombudsman investigations of funding while moving towards pardons dressed up as statutes of limitations.”

MANDATED BY FAMILIES

Mark Thompson began by saying that “Relatives for Justice was mandated to represent hundreds of families in the north whose loved ones, were not alone murdered but then slandered to justify their murders”. He pointed in the audience to relatives of Maura Meehan and Dorothy Maguire, killed by British troops in Belfast in 1971,and to relatives of John Boyle, shot by British SAS troops in 1978.He detailed the circumstances of these killings and the legal cover-up which followed, to explain how the British mistreated hundreds of families .

He said, “now as families get near truth after years pushing against a wall of deceit, the British want to use amnesties and a funding cut-off to lock the door on justice. Victims’ families want(a)no amnesty pardons for British forces,(b)funding for legacy inquests and Ombudsman inquiries, and (c implementation of the legacy mechanisms agreed at Stormont House in 2015”.

He quoted an expression that “when America sneezes Britain catches a cold and we want Irish America to sicken the British with demands for legacy justice”.

MANHATTAN  

The next night, Mr. Thompson spoke in mid-town Manhattan at an event co-hosted by Queens, Brooklyn, New York and Bronx AOH.

The crowd included, AOH national officers Jere Cole, Sean Pender  Dan Dennehy Jeff Nisler and Tom Beirne, State President Vic Vogel and Treasurer John Manning. Special thanks to Walter Cooper , Jim Sullivan, back from Florida and Parade Committee  Chairman Denis McCarthy. Hibernians were joined by Jennifer Frankola of the Brehon Law Society, and Leslie Cassidy of the Irish American Unity Conference.

Here RFJ received a State Assembly Proclamation of support sponsored by Assemblyman Dinowitz and  a Bronx Borough Proclamation presented on behalf of the Borough President by Gabriel and Patricia Megahey, friends of long time Bronx resident Liam Ryan. David Tubiolo presented a Proclamation from Westchester County. These Proclamations made special note of RFJ’s work for this American citizen, murdered in his native Tyrone.

This time Mr. Thompson pointed to Malachy McAllister, the proprietor of the Wolfe Tone Pub, who escaped an assassination attempt in Belfast, at the hands of British agents as well as the killing of Liam Ryan in Arboe County Tyrone. He explained the facts of these cases, how the British hid the truth and appealed for AOH and American help.

ROCKLAND

Mark Thompson then traveled to Rockland County for an event at the Hibernian House, arranged by Dermot Moore and co-chaired by Vincent Tyer and John McGowan.

Again Mr. Thompson met relatives and friends of victims killed by crown forces or crown agents. A cousin of Sam Marshall and friends of Rory and Gerard Cairns were in the audience. Mark Thompson started with an explanation of these killings as well as recent developments in the Loughall inquests. He used these specific cases to illustrate, the obstacles that the British have used to stonewall the families in the battle for truth.

One of the most emotional moments came when one relative asked whether the British would ever allow truth about these murders.

Mr. Thompson replied that “the families will never give up, have gained a lot of progress that once seemed impossible and it is important that RFJ and Irish America never give up supporting them”.

The event also included presentation of a Rockland County Legislature Resolution of support by Vincent Tyer, donations to RFJ and was attended by Past National President Brendan Moore.

CONGRESS

Before traveling to Albany, Mark Thompson detoured to Queens and a formal meeting with Congressman Joe Crowley. He was accompanied by AOH members Sean Pender, Bob Nolan, Dermot Moore and Martin Galvin. Here Congressman Crowley agreed to lead a formal Congressional sign-on letter to the British government.

Mr. Thompson then headed to Albany and the AOH Hall in Albany where the prestigious Fr. Murphy award was presented to Ciaran Geraghty, Past NYS FFAI Chair by past State President Tim McSweeney. The event was co-chaired by Dolores Desch and John Levandosky, with National Director Liam McNabb as Master of Ceremonies, State President Vic Vogel piping the dignitaries in  and State Vice-President Tom Lambert among a host of State and National officers in attendance.

Here Mark Thompson explained that it was the anniversary of the murder of his brother Peter Thompson. The Thompson family had been laughed at, then threatened when they tried to find out the truth. He explained that that murder, that cover-up and that injustice was the driving force which had motivated him to help form and lead Relatives for Justice, and why he felt so deeply about other families put through the same grief.

PEEKSILL

Mark Thompson’s final public event at the Quiet Man Pub, Peekskill hosted by National Director Dan Dennehy, FFAI Chair Bob Bolbach, County President Brian Duffy, District Director Aidan O’Kelly Lynch and Division President Clive Cronin. Here Mark Thompson said he was overwhelmed at by support he had received night after night, from Irish America and the AOH. He noted again how grassroots Irish-America had spearheaded every initiative to help victims of British rule that had come from America. He found everywhere he had spoken, a tremendous willingness indeed desire to help. He said he victims’ families will be encouraged by the groundswell of support he found in America.  

State President Vic Vogel then presented Mr. Thompson with a special plaque, memorializing the five tour events where Mr. Thompson spoke. The State President, who had authorized the tour attended multiple events as did National officers, Jere Cole, Sean Pender and Dan Dennehy.

ISSUES UPDATE

A- New British colonial secretary had never been in six counties

British Prime Minister Theresa May appointed Karen Bradley to succeed James Brokenshire to preside over the six counties. Bradley had never even visited the north of Ireland before her appointment. Now she will preside over talks to restore Stormont power sharing despite her lack of interest, much less knowledge of Irish issues. She named former British trooper Kris Hopkins, as a Special Policy Advisor (Spad).Hopkins had survived IRA attacks in Belfast and South Armagh. The appointment was criticized by Mark Thompson of RFJ, who said the selection was made as the “Tory/DUP alliance seeks to push an amnesty for British soldiers through Parliament.”

B- UVF Commander and British Agent Gary Haggerty gets minimum sentence for 5 murders and 202 terror crimes

Former Ulster Volunteer Force loyalist killer and British informer Gary Haggarty, received a sentence in Belfast Crown Court that will free him for a new life under the PSNI/MI5.

The original sentence of 75 years for 5 muders,23 conspiracy to murder and 4 kidnapping counts among 202 terror offenses was reduced to six and one half, allowing Haggarty to walk free to his new life almost immediately. Among the murder victims was grandfather Sean McParland, shot dead in front of his children

two Catholic workman eating lunch on the job, Eamon Fox and Gary Convie, Sean McDermott and John Harbison. Fox’s son Kieran said he was “gutted” by the sentenc. “The man is a serial killer. He was a paid State informer. The RUC knew he was killing at will and let it continue.”

C- Free Tony Taylor calls after 700 days Interned by License

Derry Republican Tony Taylor has now spent over 700 days imprisoned in Maghaberry by order of British secretaries despite repeated calls for his release or due process. Mr. Taylor,a respected Derry Republican was jailed under procedures described as Internment-by-License. He served a sentence for possession of a weapon but was then jailed based on secret information that the British refuse to release to him or his lawyer for defense.

D- Battle to Ban Irish flag from St. Patrick’s Day Parades

While Irish flags are proudly carried around the world and in most of Ireland in St. Patrick’s Day Parades, an announcement was made that the Irish flag would be banned in the strongly Republican town of Strabane on the West Tyrone-Donegal border.

A spokesperson for Derry City and Strabane District Council announced that the Council wanted a “cross-community” event that would be inclusive and promote reconciliation by banning flags.

When Independent Republican Councillor Paul Gallagher protested, he was told that Irish flags have long been excluded from St. Patrick’s Day Parades in Derry, Belfast, Newry and Downpatrick.

Councillor Gallagher challenged the ban at a Council meeting and is asking why British flags can be flown in events funded by unionist dominated councils but Irish flags can be excluded.

In Strabane the ban on Irish flags may rescinded but uncertainty continues as well as the status of the ban in Derry and Newry.

Special Thanks With Apologies

Brothers I want to thank each of you who helped make the Mark Thompson tour so successful. This tour through the events and publicity in Irish-American papers has gotten a great response, not only from those who attended, or read about it, but perhaps most important from the victims’ families in Ireland who welcome our AOH backing in their fight for truth and justice. We are now working on a Congressional letter and other initiatives including ideas for additional tours.

I apologize to everyone whose name is not included.

Please contact me at mgalvinesq@aol.com

Slan,
Martin Galvin

Freedom For All Ireland Report – November 2017

by Martin Galvin
NYAOH FFAI Chair

A chairde:

              FFAI ISSUES UPDATE

A – DUP Conference on Restoring Stormont Assembly – Democratic Unionist Party head Arlene Foster, at her party’s annual conference, showed why Stormont collapsed. She called nationalist demands for legacy truth and an Irish language law “intransigent behavior” which must be given up to resurrect Stormont. She denounced a tribute to late Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, during the Sinn Fein Ard Fheis as “glorying in the murder of the IRA.” Foster demanded that nationalists accept British culture, the British flag, English royal family, British troops, British symbols and begin referring to the six counties as the separate country of ‘Northern Ireland’. She would only support the Irish language in a larger bill that puts Irish  down to the level of other cultures. Clearly after years of power-sharing Foster’s idea of a “balanced deal” is one in which nationalists give up their beliefs about British rule and freedom for all Ireland, and submit to hers. Meanwhile British colonial secretary James Brokenshire set the new budget for the north and Arlene Foster called for greater direct control of the north by British ministers.

B – Sinn Fein Ard Fheis – Gerry Adams announced that he would be standing down as party president after 34 years. The new leader will be chosen in a Special Ard Fheis expected by February of next year. It seems almost certain to be Mary Lou McDonald. The party also decided to try to get into coalition as a junior partner with either Fine Gael or Fianna Fail after the next 26 County election. This was a major change from the party’s prior policy of only entering a coalition where it would lead.

C – Pardon Moves for British Forces – Moves continued toward a ten year statute of limitations designed to mean no prosecutions of British forces for “Troubles” murders. In April, a Westminster parliamentary Defense Committee recommended such a measure to apply to British troops, the Ulster Defense Regiment and Royal Ulster Constabulary. In November, Tory MP Richard Benyon introduced a bill which would prevent court proceedings against British armed forces for any “offenses committed during military operations or similar circumstances; and for connected purposes.” These broad terms raise questions about whether it would include collusion and cover-up crimes. The bill was supported by DUP MP Emma Little-Pengelly whose father Noel Little, was a member of Ulster Resistance which helped to bring in South African arms for loyalist paramilitaries. The British are now floating a ‘consultation document’ to get people used to the idea. Justice campaigners contend such a measure would violate European Law and the Good Friday deal. Meanwhile, a Coroner’s Court ruling that the British Army killing of 11 year old Francis Rowntree in 1972 was not justified, points to grounds for prosecution of Fracis’ killer.

D – Loughinisland Film and Court Revelations on Collusion – The film premiere of “NO STONE UNTURNED” and Belfast High Court cases have revealed more proof that British forces armed, paid, targeted, covered-up or were otherwise complicit in sectarian murders carried out by loyalist agents. Six Loughinisland victims were murdered for watching Ireland play Italy in a World Cup soccer match in 1994. The movie names and shows recent film of the murderers, then reveals that in addition to the overwhelming evidence available from the recovered car, weapons, and clothing, the wife of one of the gunmen had telephoned and written confessing her involvement and naming the gunmen. Despite everything, no one was ever charged. Meanwhile a Belfast High Court judge who had already ruled that the PSNI Constabulary had violated the rights of families of the Glenanne Gang by blocking any effective investigation into their murders,  issued a new order to force the constabulary to do and publish a full investigation. The Glenanne Gang, which included members of the RUC and UDR is tied to more than 120 sectarian murders including 33 in the Dublin – Monaghan bombings. The judge was forced to issue the extraordinary order because the PSNI ignored his earlier judgment.        

 HEAR MARK THOMPSON- WILL AOH & AMERICA HELP STOP BRITISH IMPUNITY
(Read Mark Thompson’s Biography)

Over the past quarter-century Mark Thompson of Relatives for Justice, among many human rights campaigners, has fought for truth and justice for the victims killed by British crown forces and their loyalist criminal agents. In inquests, court battles, Ombudsman Investigations and international scrutiny, they have proven many victims innocent. This also points to the fact that their killers were guilty. The British are making clear moves towards a 10 year cut off that will cut off any chance for truth for more than a thousand families. AOH and American help is crucial. Mark will be speaking at five New York AOH FFAI events in January, arriving on January 9th,returning to Belfast January 15th.We want to fill his afternoons with press and political briefings!

  • Wednesday, January 10th-Suffolk County AOH Division 2 Hall, 27 Locust Avenue ,Babylon-8pm-Suffolk and Nassau Counties
  • Thursday, January 11th-Wolfe Tone Pub 37 East 29th Street, 6pm-9pm Manhattan-co-sponsored by New York, Queens, Brooklyn and Bronx
  • Friday, January 12th-Rockland-Hibernian House 28 Railroad Avenue, Pearl River-7pm
  • Saturday, January 13th-Albany-AOH HALL 375 Ontario Avenue, Albany – 7pm- honoring Ciaran Geraghty Past NYS AOH  FFAI Chair
  • Sunday January 14th-Peekskill-venue to be arranged

Mark is a great speaker who has given truth, hope and a small measure of justice to many families whose loved ones were murdered by the British directly or by their loyalist agents. Hear him explain why American and AOH pressure on the British is urgently needed!

Please contact me at MGALVINESQ@AOL.COM.

Slan
Martin Galvin,
NYAOH FFAI Chair

Albany Freedom for All Ireland (FFAI) Night

AOH Fr. Henry Tansey Division 5 will be holding their Freedom for All Ireland (FFAI) Night on Saturday, January 13, 2018.  The goal of this annual event is to spread awareness of the social injustices and abuses that take place every day in the north of Ireland. 

This year honoree will be Past New York State FFAI Chairman, Ciaran Geraghty who will receive the Fr. John Murphy Award. This prestigious award is an annual recognition presented to the individual(s) who have, and continue to advocate for public awareness related to social injustices in the north of Ireland. Brother Geraghty, through his work as New York State FFAI Chairman and his continued advocacy, exemplifies a dedication to the cause and to the AOH Motto of “Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity.” His work to end the plight of Irish-Catholics in the north of Ireland is well-known. 

The special guest speaker for the event is Mark Thompson from Relatives for Justice (RFJ), a support group formed in the mid-1990s in Dungannon, County Tyrone.  RFJ was founded in April 1991 by bereaved families affected by the conflict in the north who came together to support each other. RFJ identifies and attempts to address the needs of those who have suffered loss and injury through one on one contact, self-help, group support, outreach, counselling, therapy, welfare and legal advocacy.

Mark Thompson is a founding member and CEO of RFJ who fulfills the group’s mission in providing a proactive and holistic approach to support families affected by conflict and human rights violations. His continuing work provides effective support for redressing human rights abuses and providing a wide range of services and support for those affected in Ireland. 

Please support this FFAI event. See the event flyer and journal ad form for more information or contact:

John Levendosky
FFAI Chairman
Albany AOH Fr. Henry Tansey Division 5
917-620-4085
j.levendosky@gmail.com

Freedom For All Ireland Report – October 2017

by Martin Galvin
NYAOH FFAI Chair

A chairde:

During our State Convention, members requested that FFAI do more than appeal for donations. FFAI must also give our members information about issues arising from the denial of freedom for all Ireland. Publicity/education will help members build American political support around these issues and raise money for groups which assist and support those victimized by the denial of freedom. These three elements should go hand in hand and involve cooperation with Political Education, Immigration etc.

FFAI MONTHLY BULLETIN

In response to these requests, I began a monthly FFAI Bulletin.   Issues are available on the state web site by clicking Reports and FFAI (thanks to Brother Cummings). The aim is to give you monthly updates on a few key events in the north with short explanations.

Since July a few of the key events already covered include:

Tory-DUP Deal, Brexit, Pardons proposal for British troopers, Catholic Families forced to flee their homes, Orange sectarian parades, the Ballymurphy Massacre Inquests etc.

I thank members who email me with constructive criticisms, and suggestions. These bulletins are only worth doing if our members find them worth reading!

IRISH ECHO-The editor has agreed to accept op/ed type pieces on FFAI issues on a monthly basis. All pieces include a note that the writer is the NY FFAI Chair, reminding readers that the New York State AOH continues to work towards FFAI. The latest piece on Gerry Conlon of the Guildford Four is in the current issue. Last month’s piece on the Ballymurphy Massacre got a good response from the Ballymurphy families.  

NEW YORK STATE FFAI MARK THOMPSON RFJ TOUR DATES SET

Our President Vic Vogel has authorized a tour by Mark Thompson of Relatives for Justice. He will be here for our AOH FFAI events in January, arriving on January 9th,returning to Belfast January 15th.

  • Wednesday January 10th-Suffolk County co-sponsored by Nassau
  • Thursday January 11th-in Manhattan co-sponsored by NY City  counties
  • Friday January 12th-Rockland
  • Saturday January 13th-Albany
  • Sunday January 14th-Peekskill

Mark is a great speaker who has given truth, hope and a small measure of justice to many families whose loved ones were murdered by the British directly or by their loyalist agents. If we can make this tour a success he is willing to return because he understands the importance of American and AOH pressure on the British!

We want to get as much value out of this tour as possible. Some  things to consider in each area, would be a public event, (which can generate FFAI contributions from the host), briefings with   members, any local media coverage, and Proclamations or Citations from local government officials, which are taken very seriously in Ireland and by the British.

1918 MANDATE FOR IRISH FREEDOM CENTENNIAL

Last year we proudly commemorated the centennial of the 1916 Easter Rising and Proclamation of the Irish Republic. A highlight of this centennial year was a New York State Resolution, achieved under the leadership of our Past State President Tim McSweeney, Past FFAI Chair Ciaran Geraghty, and PEC Chair Liam McNabb.

Next year will mark another historic centenary. The 1916 Rising was initially unpopular, even condemned by elected Irish representatives. Irish feelings changed. Given the chance to vote for freedom, in the British General election of 1918 Ireland voted an overwhelming democratic mandate, for the 1916 Rising, and an Irish parliament, or Dail Eireann to govern a free 32 county Irish nation.

 A resolution, was unanimously passed at our State Convention that we commemorate the centennial of this vote for freedom. The AOH organized successful educational and publicity tours around 1916 Republic Day, and the Fenian Manchester Martyrs. We can promote the 1918 vote for all Ireland freedom, by highlighting this vote for freedom at our AOH Easter Commemorations, by lecture tours etc.

It is my hope to work under our Worthy President and PEC Chair to get a New York State Resolution along the lines of the accompanying draft Resolution.

FFAI RELATED COMMEMORATIONS AND EVENTS

The AOH holds many Memorials, Commemorations, and FFAI related events. I would like to highlight, promote and where possible attend these events. Tyrone AOH leaders want to recognize the AOH Memorial in Suffolk County, where Tom Clarke lived before returning to Ireland. Your events and work may inspire others around the state and in Ireland.

DO NOT FORGET THE CHRISTMAS APPEAL

Please contact me at MGALVINESQ@AOL.COM

Slan
Martin Galvin,
NYAOH FFAI Chair

 

DRAFT PROPOSED 1918 RESOLUTION

WHEREAS, on Easter Monday, April 24, 1916, Irish patriots, supported by “exiled children in America”, proclaimed Ireland’s ancient right to freedom, rebelled in Dublin against the might of the British Empire, and despite the Rising being crushed and its leaders executed, began events which won freedom for 26 of Ireland’s 32 counties in an IRISH REPUBLIC; and

WHEREAS, in 1918, in a British controlled General Election

where Ireland voted as one, the Irish People gave a democratic mandate ratifying the April 24, 1916 Easter Proclamation, and the creation of a free Irish parliament, or Dail Eireann to govern Ireland as a free 32 county nation ;and 

WHEREAS, in 2018 the centenary of this important event in Ireland’s great history, it is fitting that the 1918 vote for Irish freedom and mandate for an IRISH REPUBLIC  be suitably remembered, honored and commemorated on April 24,2018 ; and,

WHEREAS, it is particularly fitting that the 1918 mandate for Irish freedom be commemorated in the United States, because of the historic and indispensable part which Ireland’s exiled children in America played in those events, and also because of the worthy contributions made by Irish Americans to the freedom, liberty, culture, and economic well-being of the United States; and

WHEREAS the ANCIENT ORDER of HIBERNIANS, the oldest and largest Irish–American organization, is dedicated to perpetuating the history and traditions of the Irish people and to promoting Freedom for all Ireland;

NOW LET IT BE RESOLVED: That this legislative body pauses in its deliberations to remember and honor the legacy of the 1918 vote ratifying Ireland’s right to freedom and 32 county self-government as proclaimed on April 24th,1916.

Freedom For All Ireland Report – September 2017

by Martin Galvin
NYAOH FFAI Chair

A chairde:

FFAI ISSUES UPDATE

A-Catholic Families Forced to Flee Belfast Homes- Four Catholic families were forced to flee their homes after being told by the constabulary they were under death threat from loyalist Ulster Volunteer Force paramilitaries. The families were driven out of the Cantrell Close area in Belfast, a new Housing Executive project aimed at cross-community housing. The IRISH NEWS noted that “if similar threats happened anywhere else in Ireland or Britain or the western world, it would likely make international headlines.” UVF flags had already been draped around this estate since June to mark the area as UVF territory.

B-English Protests over British Trooper Prosecutions- Supporters of Dennis Hutchings, a former British trooper charged with shooting dead John Pat Cunningham in Benburb, marched in London protesting prosecutions of any former British troopers for Troubles murders. The victim, then 27 with learning difficulties and a fear of troopers, was shot in the back while running away. Because of new inquests, and investigations, a few rubberstamped killings by British crown forces are now being seriously investigated for the first time. Troopers fear facing charges. During the protest, speakers expressed outrage that Hutchings  at age 75 could be prosecuted for a 1974 killing. The angry protest took place one day after the crown announced it would proceed with charges against Belfast Republican Ivor Bell,80, for a 1972 incident despite Mr. Bell’s severe medical issues.   

C- DUP Demands Funds Cutoff for Relatives For Justice- Democratic Unionist Party MP Emma Little-Pengelly demanded that the victims’ group have its funding ended because RFJ representatives had attended an anniversary Mass for three Tyrone IRA Volunteers, killed by the SAS twenty-nine years ago. She pointed to an RFJ message that it was “privileged” to be at the Mass for Brian and Gerard Mullin and Martin Harte.RFJ said it would “support all victims and survivors without fear or favor.” Little-Pengelly is the daughter of Noel Little, a member of Ulster Resistance which helped to bring in South African arms for loyalist paramilitaries.

D-Orange Order Insulted by Reconciliation Efforts– Rev Mervyn Gibson, the Grand Secretary of the Orange Order branded efforts to persuade Unionists that they would be better off in a united Ireland as “insulting.” Rev. Gibson told the IRISH NEWS, that he “finds it insulting when people even try and convince me of a unionist place in a united Ireland”. He said claims of financial betterment were a “bribe” or “attempt to buy unionists”. Gibson also said that the Conservative Party-DUP deal might mean restoring Orange Order Parades in Drumcree and other nationalist areas where they had been blocked.

NEW YORK FFAI MARK THOMPSON RFJ TOUR DATES SET

Mark Thompson of Relatives for Justice will be speaking at five New York AOH FFAI events in January, arriving on January 9th,returning to Belfast January 15th.

  • Wednesday, January 10th– Suffolk County co-sponsored by Nassau
  • Thursday, January 11th– in Manhattan co-sponsored by NY City counties
  • Friday, January 12th– Rockland
  • Saturday, January 13th– Albany
  • Sunday, January 14th– Peekskill

Mark is a great speaker who has given truth, hope and a small measure of justice to many families whose loved ones were murdered by the British directly or by their loyalist agents. If we can make this tour a success he is willing to return because he understands the importance of American and AOH pressure on the British.

SPECIAL ENVOY WIN

Last month we noted that the AOH joined Congressman Crowley and other groups in demanding that a new Special Envoy be appointed for the north. The announced decision not to appoint one has been reversed with AOH support.

Hope to see some of you at the “Spirit of 1916 Awards” Bronx Fundraiser Sunday October 22nd at the Rambling House, Katonah Avenue in Woodlawn 3pm-7pm.In addition to honoring our National Secretary Jere Cole, Past NY County President Thomas Beirne, and Hugh McMorrow, we are honoring MacBride Principles champion, Pat Doherty. (914-589-7105)

Please contact me at MGALVINESQ@AOL.COM.

Slan
Martin Galvin,
NYAOH FFAI Chair

Freedom For All Ireland Report – August 2017

by Martin Galvin
NYAOH FFAI Chair

A chairde:

FFAI ISSUES UPDATE

A-British Collusion no Illusion –
Former RUC officer Stephen Weir  told the IRISH NEWS, that top British officials were directly complicit with the notorious “Glenanne Gang.” Off-duty members of British crown forces, working with Ulster Volunteer Force loyalists, the gang committed more than 130 sectarian murders, including the horrific Dublin-Monaghan bombings which killed 33 civilians and injured more than 300.Weir said most leaders of criminal loyalist groups were paid British agents, working for the British Army or RUC. He spoke after a Belfast High Court judge ruled that the PSNI had violated the human rights of relatives of the gang’s victims, by shutting down any probe of British state connection to the murders by arming, paying, shielding and directing the murderers.

B-Document Proves Immunity for Killings by British Troops –
A top level British Ministry memorandum, uncovered by Relatives For Justice, noted that the British Army “should not be inhibited in its campaign by the threat of Court proceedings.” RFJ Director Mark Thompson, said “we always believed that British Troopers had immunity, now we have concrete evidence.”  The sister of murder victim Gerard Gibson said the 1972 document explains why no British troopers were ever prosecuted for his murder or for other killings like Bloody Sunday.

C-Finucane Appeal Granted but new Threats against Lawyers 
The Finucane family’s legal fight for a public inquiry into the assassination of civil rights lawyer Pat Finucane will now go to the Supreme Court. Pat Finucane was the lawyer for Bobby Sands MP, and other high profile political cases in British courts. He was murdered by British agents after threats from the RUC and at Westminster. British Prime Minister David Cameron reneged on promises of a public inquiry to unearth all the facts of British

state involvement.  Meanwhile a report by Human Rights First, titled A Troubling Turn, documents that lawyers who bring legacy cases against British crown forces have received death threats and abuse and triggered by British tabloids calling such cases “witch-hunts”.

D-Internment Day March Halted 
A Republican parade which applied to march to Belfast City Center was blocked. This year’s march was intended to highlight the injustice of the Internment by License of Tony Taylor. The Derry Republican was released on license or parole but then suddenly put back in prison without charges or a right to be present or be informed of secret evidence against him. His case is a threat against others  including releases under the GFA. He is supported by the SDLP, Sinn Fein and Catholic Church and Independent Republicans. Meanwhile “Britain First” an extreme right wing group was allowed to rally at Belfast City Hall.

SPECIAL ENVOY FOR NORTH MAY BE SCRAPPED

The AOH is opposing plans by the State Department to scrap the post of Special Envoy for the North. The decision to leave the post vacant was contained in a letter to Senate Foreign Relations Chair Corker. Congressman Joe Crowley, called the decision a “major mistake.” AOH PEC Chair Neil Cosgrove, has written to Congress and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, urging them to push back against this decision. The post appoints a senior official to provide American monitoring and leadership at a time when the Tory-DUP alliance is deeply worrisome.

NEW YORK FFAI WILL HOST MARK THOMPSON TOUR FOR RFJ

State President Vic Vogel has authorized FFAI to sponsor a one week tour by Mark Thompson of Relatives for Justice in January.

RFJ founded in Belfast, in 1991 has played a leading role in supporting the families of victims murdered by British crown forces or in collusion with loyalists. No one knows more about the fight to hold Britain to account and get justice for the victims! Mark has agreed to come because he and the victims rely on American help, especially from the AOH.

Mark Thompson, arrives January 9th,and is tentatively booked for public events in New York City on the 11th and Albany on the 13th.We want your requests to book the open dates on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. We want your help and ideas to get press coverage and political briefings as well as generating money for FFAI. This is a great opportunity for us at a time when events in Ireland show that American and specifically AOH pressure on the British is crucial! Please contact me directly.

FFAI THEMED COMMEMORATIONS AND EVENTS

Brothers, the AOH holds many Memorials, Commemorations, and FFAI related events. I would like to highlight, promote and where possible attend these events.

Recently I mentioned to Tyrone AOH leaders the AOH Memorial and Easter Commemoration in Suffolk County, where Tom Clarke lived before returning to Ireland. The AOH in Tyrone, Clarke’s county, were impressed and are discussing ideas how to give recognition.  

Your events and work may inspire others around the state and in Ireland!

Please contact me at MGALVINESQ@AOL.COM.

Slan
Martin Galvin,
NYAOH FFAI Chair

Freedom For All Ireland Report – July 2017

by Martin Galvin
NYAOH FFAI Chair

A chairde:

During our State Convention, FFAI led by Chairman Ciaran Geraghty highlighted the following issues:

TORY – DUP WESTMINSTER DEAL

British Prime Minister Theresa May called a special election, to increase her power. She lost seats and fell short of a majority. May then made a deal for votes with the Democratic Unionist Party(DUP), founded by Ian Paisley now headed by Arlene Foster, to stay in power.

Campaigners in Ireland have contacted the AOH about issues like:

A-Bloody Sunday pardons-For 45 years, the victims’ families have fought for justice. AOH members marched to support them. Criminal charges against British troopers are under consideration. The DUP wants pardons disguised as a statute of limitations , meaning no murder charges against British crown forces, for Bloody Sunday or other crimes.

B-Ballymurphy Massacre Inquests-Between August 9th-11th-1971,British troopers shot down 10 people, including a Catholic priest in the Republican heartland of Ballymurphy in Belfast. The British whitewashed the killings. The Ballymurphy families, among other victims’ families are legally entitled to inquests where the truth could be told. The British block funds for these inquests saying they need DUP permission to give these families their day in a British court.

C-Sectarian Parades-the British Parades Commission has placed some limits on Orange sectarian parades invading nationalist areas like the Garvaghy Road. The Orange Order has called on the DUP to clear the way.

D-Brexit-Britain’s decision to leave the European Community will draw a border across Ireland threatening travel hardships and economic disaster as well as undercut European Law and GFA obligations. The DUP supports Brexit with customs, trade and immigration controls across Ireland.

1918 MANDATE FOR IRISH FREEDOM CENTENNIAL

In 1918 Ireland voted an overwhelming democratic mandate for the 1916 Rising, and creation of an Irish parliament, or Dail Eireann to govern a free 32 county Irish nation.

 A resolution, copy attached, was unanimously passed, that we honor and promote awareness of the legacy of this centennial.

The AOH organized successful educational and publicity tours around 1916 Republic Day, and the Fenian Manchester Martyrs. We   hope to promote the 1918 vote for all Ireland freedom, with lecture tours, state resolutions, and by highlighting this vote for freedom at all our AOH Easter Commemorations etc.

MACBRIDE PRINCIPLES UNDER THREAT

One of the primary means of enforcing the MacBride Principles has been shareholder resolutions. A bill now pending in Washington would end this by requiring billions of dollars in stocks to raise justice issues. Both the state and city Comptrollers have asked for AOH help to block the misnamed ‘Financial Choice Act’ now pending in the United States Senate. Our 2 New York Senators and especially Schumer are key on stopping this bill which already passed the House.

BOOK DONATIONS

Some members had great success in placing books on Irish history, and politics in local libraries. This is a great initiative which should be investigated and followed where possible.

CHRISTMAS APPEAL

There was a very positive meeting between state and national officers about the Christmas Appeal and FFAI selection.

POLITICAL- EDUCATIONAL-FUNDRAISING

FFAI should educate about the key issues caused by the denial of freedom for all Ireland, build political support around these issues and raise money for those affected. These elements are tied together!

Slan,

Martin Galvin,
NYAOH FFAI Chair