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