While the current health crisis has held back many of our Freedom for all Ireland initiatives, it did not stop British injustice. The British used the lockdown as their opportunity to renege on the Stormont House Agreement, Brexit agreement, victim’s pensions and legacy justice. Meanwhile groups doing vital FFAI work, with AOH support, were closed down or limited. They are counting on the AOH, more than ever, to give them the publicity, political support and financial help they badly need.
AOH FFAI must adapt and find new means to influence American and Irish politicians, contribute to justice groups in Ireland, impacting British policies, and setting the agenda for Irish American groups.
Health restrictions may block us from organizing speaking tours, but our national and state leaders have found new technologies to bring events like the transatlantic launch of PLASTIC JUSTICE to Hibernians across New York. After the election we will know who our elected representatives are and can target members of the administration or key Congressional committees for support on Irish issues.We have to find new approaches to continue our contributions in support of the Christmas Appeal grants.
WEBINAR SPEAKING EVENTS
I expected to be speaking about plans for a new tour which could provide a speaker for some of our best Christmas Appeal events (like the Fr. Murphy Awards in Albany), follow-up on FFAI political issues post-election and help motivate more areas to support our FFAI political and fundraising initiatives.
Obviously we cannot not have a speaking tour at this time, planned fundraising events had to be cancelled. However we are now bringing speakers to you by webinar broadcasts.
Nearly 1500 Hibernians, led by National Presidents Danny O’Connell and Karen Keane, viewed the webinar broadcast launch of PLASTIC JUSTICE, a report by Relatives for Justice, which documents how British state forces used plastic bullets to kill 17 Irish people with impunity. The event made public newly uncovered British secret documents, written just before and after one of the killings, which will now be used by legal representatives of the Downes’ family in their court battle for an inquest.
Three victims’ relatives spoke. It was deeply moving even for those who were aware of the circumstances of these murders. One of the most important aspects of this event was that groups like RfJ invited the AOH to co-host the launch, because of our successes in bringing legacy justice issues to Congress. The launch has also been covered for three weeks by the IRISH ECHO and VOICE.
Last month, in a history making first, Hibernians across the state got to see speakers representing 17 Freedom for all Ireland grant recipients talk about their projects and hear why AOH-LAOH Christmas Appeal donations are so crucial. The event is now posted on our AOH site. In the past only the FFAI Chair and those few Hibernians able to get to Ireland saw these presentations. It was inspiring to hear these leading representatives. Hibernians can take pride in these Christmas Appeal grants.
At the same time what they said was deeply concerning. Many of the recipients spoke of our grants being a lifeline for them because of the impact of covid. For example, John Kelly the leader of the Bloody Sunday campaign, said the Museum of Free Derry relies on paid admissions by visitors, which were wiped out. Brian Cawley of Tyrone National Graves said the funds they use to care for the patriot graves and memorials in East Tyrone, comes from an annual fundraiser at Easter, which was cancelled. A number of other groups and centers were closed for months. The message seems clear. Our donations this year were crucial, but because the covid crisis continues, they desperately need us to come through for them next year.
FFAI POLITICAL INITIATIVES
Last year at the request of AOH FFAI, the House Foreign Affairs Committee hosted a special briefing by Mark Thompson of Relatives for Justice and Professor Mark McGovern, only 9 days after Boris Johnson announced plans to stop prosecutions of British troopers during the 1969-98 conflict. Congressman Eliot Engel scheduled the briefing, attended by Congressmen, many Congressional aides, two observers from the Irish Embassy and an observer from the British Northern Ireland Office. Mark Thompson and Professor McGovern urged Congress, to take a lead along with Irish America and the Irish government in opposing a trooper amnesty which would be a political disaster and violation of the Good Friday agreement.
The British pay close attention to American Congressional scrutiny. FFAI was able to organize this hearing and also a series of Congressional letters to the British Ambassador.FFAI speakers from Ireland also help in AOH efforts to build up a network of Congressmen, who are aware of key FFAI issues and the importance of Irish issues to voters in their district. We are unfortunately losing key members like Eliot Engel and Peter King. We will soon have an opportunity to identify and approach key members in the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the Senate and administration elected from New York.
New York State AOH and LAOH packed the Assembly and Senate galleries, after calling their elected officials to support resolutions about Ireland’s 1918 vote for freedom and 1919 Declaration of Independence.
Last year working with State President Tom Lambert, State PEC Chair Liam McNabb Chair and former State FFAI Chair Ciaran Geraghty we were scheduled to return to Albany on April 21st, for state ceremonies remembering Terence MacSwiney, Kevin Barry and other Irish patriots who gave their lives during the Black and Tan War of 1920.
These ceremonies bring an awareness of our history to those who never heard of events like the Irish Declaration of Independence or understand their historical importance. They show our elected officials that they have to pay attention to Irish issues and the AOH. Thirdly at a time when the British and Unionists want to honor the six county state and partition, these ceremonies are a subtle reminder, they created the Orange State against a national vote for freedom, and Declaration of Independence and through a war using the Black and Tans to terrorize Ireland.
Next year marks the 40th anniversary of the 1981 Hunger Strike, the death of Bobby Sands MP and nine others. The Hunger Strike and what it represented should be the theme of a state resolution in New York State and in cities and municipalities across the state and nation.
Resolutions can recall the contribution of AOH members under former State President John Egan and National Digest Editor Frank Feighery, among others who were instrumental in getting AOH banners and representatives at demonstrations across New York State in support of the Hunger Strikers every day from March 1st through October 3rd.
The 2019-2020 Christmas Appeal was a record breaking success led by New York. A total of $20,864 came from 37 New York State contributors to the Christmas Appeal. New York more than doubled the next highest state. We are not going to be able to hold some fundraising events which were a key part of the appeal. I am appealing to everyone around the state to try and make special collections so that we do not let these groups down at a time when they need our help the most.
Christmas Appeal grants are awarded to groups working for complete and absolute independence, peace and unity for all Ireland. Groups applying for donations from the FFAI Christmas Appeal must submit applications that include a question on how they promote freedom for all Ireland. The recipients and amounts were based on written applications and recommendations from the National FFAI Committee. Final determinations were made by our National officers.
Every designated donation to approved groups was honored and groups named for designated donations got additional monies because we wanted contributions to reflect your feelings.
New applications were approved for the Ballymurphy Families Committee, Bloody Sunday Trust (which over-sees the Museum of Free Derry), Tyrone National Graves, and the Witness Project headed by Sean Murray.
Repeat recipients included -Relatives for Justice, Pat Finucane Centre, Holy Cross Ardoyne, EALU-(means Es-cape in Irish) is a center for Republican ex-political prisoners, New Lodge Commemoration Committee, Conway Mill Trust, Tyrone AOH, Cairde Strabane, St. Patrick Centre, Downpatrick, Duchas Oiriall-South Armagh, Bridges beyond Boxing, Belfast, Down Patriot Graves, Green Cross, Belfast National Graves, Omagh Basketball and Omagh Choir.
2021 FACT FINDING TOUR
In 2019, Hibernians completed a highly publicized nine day fact-finding mission led by President Jim McKay and LAOH President Carol Sheyer and including leading Hibernians from 13 states.
In 2021, we are proposing a tour that would include meeting the families of all of the hunger strikers as well as discuss the continuing legacy and political meaning of the 1981 Hunger Strike today.
NYAOH FFAI Chair
On October 6, 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced new guidelines restricting attendance at religious services and closing all schools in nine ZIP code areas in Brooklyn and Queens following a recent spike of COVID-19 cases in those areas. The guidelines designate zip codes with a three percent or more increase of COVID-19 cases as red zones and would restrict attendance at religious services in these red zones to just 10 people. Governor Cuomo has threatened to close religious institutions down if they do not adhere to the new guidelines.
The Most Reverend Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of the Diocese of Brooklyn has called on Governor Cuomo to ease the restrictions in the red zones and permit churches to operate at 25% capacity without a cap of 10 people since the Catholic Churches in Brooklyn and Queens have not had any COVID-19 outbreaks or significant cases since reopening on July 5, 2020. The Diocese has strictly adhered to COVID-19 protocols which have been working. Parishes have incurred tremendous expense implementing these safety protocols and to restrict churches that have the capacity to hold a thousand people for Mass to 10 people is disrespectful to Catholics and to the clergy who have adhered to all of the guidelines of New York State.
In solidarity with Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, the New York State Board of the Ancient Order of Hibernians believe that the draconian measures instituted by Governor Cuomo are not narrowly tailored to address the state’s legitimate interest in protecting the health and safety of the public. We respectfully call on Governor Cuomo to ease the restrictions and permit churches to operate at 25% capacity without a 10 person cap and to allow Catholic Schools who have not had an outbreak of COVID-19 cases to reopen with on-site learning.
Please contact Governor Cuomo and your local state Assemblymen and Senators calling on them to ease the restrictions of Catholic Churches and Catholic Schools.
The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224
In Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity,
Ancient Order of Hibernians – New York State Chairman Catholic Action
by Mike McCormack, NY AOH Historian
One hundred years ago, November 21, 1920 was a day of such violence in Dublin that it was ever after referred to as Bloody Sunday (Irish: Domhnach na Fola). It occurred during the Irish War of Independence as 31 people were killed or fatally wounded on that one day – 14 British military, 14 Irish civilians, and 3 Irish prisoners.
The day began with an operation organized by Michael Collins, to “put out the eyes of the British empire” as GPO soldier Sam O’Reilly once told this writer. By late 1920, British Intelligence in Dublin had established an extensive network of spies and informers around the city. Michael Collins, as head of the Irish Republican Brotherhood and IRA Chief of Intelligence, was running his country’s war for independence and had been hampered to a large degree by those agents. They operated with impunity, believing that the Irish were unorganized and easily infiltrated. Collins was determined to show them otherwise by destroying their intelligence network in a coordinated manner.
Collins established his own undercover operation with patriots like Ned Broy, a detective in the Dublin Metropolitan Police, who smuggled him in to spend the night in the Records Room of Great Brunswick Street Police Barracks, and Elizabeth Mernin, first cousin of his IRA Publicity Director, Pearse Beasley who was a typist in Dublin Castle’s adjutant’s office. She shared critical information about the Castle’s intelligence officers and identified their Dublin residences. In addition to other operatives, Collins also had formed a clandestine ‘Squad’ of IRA men, known as The Twelve Apostles. They were tasked with eliminating informers and British operatives whenever they were identified. Then on 20 November, the Squad and select members of the IRA’s Dublin Brigade, were assembled as a team to be briefed on a specific group of targets. Thirty-five undercover intelligence agents had been identified as living at different locations in Dublin and the instructions were to eliminate all of them the next morning at precisely 9AM. Early on the morning of 21 November, some of the team attended Mass and quietly went about their assigned tasks. One was Seán Lemass, who would later serve as Taoiseach from 1959 to 1966. On the morning of 21 November however, he helped in the assassination of British Captain G. Baggallay.
Out of the agents on Collins’s hit list, only 14 were killed and 5 were seriously wounded since some were not at home at the time. However, a number of agents and informers were seen later in the day lining up at the ferries back to England. The action caused shock waves throughout the Empire and crippled British intelligence in Ireland. The precision of the operation also caused consternation in the British administration who were now forced to re-evaluate their opponent. Collins justified the killings saying, ‘My one intention was the destruction of the undesirables who continued to make miserable the lives of ordinary decent citizens. I have proof enough to assure myself of the atrocities which this gang of spies and informers have committed. If I had a second motive it was no more than a feeling such as I would have for a dangerous reptile. By their destruction the very air is made sweeter. For myself, my conscience is clear. There is no crime in detecting in wartime the spy and the informer. They have destroyed without trial. I have paid them back in their own coin.’
Afterward, Collins advised the GAA to cancel the afternoon Dublin vs Tipperary football match at Croke Park fearing retaliation. It was denied since profits of the day were for families of imprisoned Republicans. About 5,000 spectators attended the game which began at 3:15 PM. Outside the park, unseen by the crowd, convoys containing a mixed force of military, Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) Auxiliaries and Black and Tans and police drove in from the northwest and the south. The Auxiliaries and Black & Tans were ex-military from WWI sent to help the RIC defeat the Irish. They had orders to guard the exits and search every man as he left. However, as soon as they reached the stadium at 3:25 PM, they began shooting. Some claimed they were fired on first, but that was proven untrue. Actually, those in the convoy’s lead cars jumped out and chased the ticket sellers down the passage into the Park firing at them. Meanwhile, a gate opened and a Lorry of troops rode onto the field as scenes of wild confusion erupted. Spectators made a rush for the far end of the Park as shots were randomly fired into them for a full minute and a half. Auxiliary Commander, Major Mills, later admitted that his men were ‘excited and out of hand.’ RIC outside the park opened fire at spectators climbing over the wall to escape. At the other end of the park, soldiers were startled to see panicked people fleeing the grounds and opened fire with their armored car machine gun to halt them. By the time Major Mills got his men under control, 12 people had been shot dead, 60 were wounded and 2 had been trampled to death in the stampede. Tipperary player, Michael Hogan, was killed on the field as was a man who bent over him to whisper an Act of Contrition. Today’s Hogan Stand in Croke Park is named for him.
At first, Castle authorities issued a press release which claimed that a number of gunmen from the morning attack were in Croke Park and Crown forces went to arrest them. However, they were fired on by armed pickets to warn the wanted men, causing a stampede. Strongly denied by the thousands in attendance who refuted that bogus claim, when the stands were searched for arms or spent shells, none were found. British Brigadier Frank Crozier, in command that day, resigned in protest over the official condoning of the unjustified actions of the troops after one of his officers told him that, ‘Black and Tans fired into the crowd without any provocation whatsoever.’ Two military courts of inquiry were held. One found that ‘the fire of the RIC was carried out without orders and exceeded the demands of the situation’; the other found that ‘the firing on the crowd was carried out without orders, was indiscriminate and unjustifiable.’ These findings were suppressed by the British Government for 80 years and only came to light in 2000 revealing that a total of 228 rounds of ammunition were fired by the RIC and auxiliaries and that the army machine-gun at the St James’s Avenue exit fired a total of 50 rounds.
Further, the first victims were two boys watching the game without paying. William Robinson, 11, was shot as he sat in a tree that gave him a view over the wall and Jerry O’Leary, 10, was shot as he sat on a wall at the southwest end of the field. They were shot before the Tans and Auxiliaries ever entered the park, suggesting that whatever their orders had been that day, the RIC had other ideas. It was an act of mass murder by trigger-happy Black and Tans and Auxiliaries bent on avenging the morning’s losses. Later that day, two Republican officers, Dick McKee and Peadar Clancy, together with Conor Clune (a nephew of the Archbishop of Perth, Australia), who were being held in Dublin Castle, were tortured and shot by the Brits who said they were killed trying to escape! McKee and Clancy later had Irish Army military barracks in Dublin named for them.
Overall Bloody Sunday was a victory for Collins whose operation severely damaged British intelligence, while the British reprisals increased support for Republican forces at home and abroad. Bloody Sunday was one of the most significant events to take place during the Irish War of Independence and it happened just 100 years ago.
Who Fears To Speak Of ’98
by Mike McCormack, NY State Historian
The 1700’s was a Century of Revolution. When England’s American colonies struck for independence in 1775 during an age of the Divine Right of Kings, it was an unheard of act. Yet it not only succeeded, it inspired France to revolt in 1789 and 1792 and they too succeeded. Another attempt inspired by America took place in 1798 as the Irish rose to break the shackles of Empire. Yet, that one’s not in our history books because it failed, though it was equally justified. It didn’t even earn the term revolution; if mentioned at all, it is called a rebellion. Revolution is defined as the forcible overthrow of a social order in favor of a new system while rebellion is defined as an act of defying the authority of an established government. After King William defeated King James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, a century of oppression drove the Irish into a depressed rage. By that time, the religious prejudice, long a factor in English-Irish relations, had changed. William offered a fair treaty in 1691 to end the fighting, but it was broken by England’s Irish administrators to insure power to their own class by the subjugation of all others. The basis of that power was a privileged position accorded to Church of Ireland members. All others were subjected to Penal Laws that restricted their economic existence, including Presbyterians and other dissenting Protestant sects, though not as severely as Catholics. Then came Theobold Wolfe Tone.
A Protestant graduate of Trinity College, he returned to Ireland after two years as a Lawyer in London and, influenced by Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man, he developed a philosophy of national independence based on religious suffrage. In September 1791, he wrote his greatest pamphlet: An Argument on Behalf of the Catholics of Ireland. Aimed at non-Church of Ireland Protestants, it urged support of Catholic emancipation and was praised by Catholic and Dissenter alike. He was invited to Belfast and helped organize the Society of United Irishmen. They called for a union of all Irish to peacefully block English influence by parliamentary reform. They even chose a color to symbolize their new Union; it was a blend of St. Patrick’s Blue for the Catholic tradition with Orange for the Protestant tradition. The blended green became identified with Irish nationalism ever since. Tone then formed a second branch of the United Irishmen in Dublin with patriot Napper Tandy.
Meanwhile, exaggerated reports of their activities were coming in from informers seeking favor with the Brits. However, there was no evidence on which to arrest anyone. Then in 1795, a representative of France’s Minister of Foreign Affairs called on Tone to determine the chances of success for a French invasion. France had been fighting England ever since they supported the Americans in their Revolution. France’s representative was arrested as a spy and Tone was exiled to America. That turned Tone from a parliamentary reformer to a military advocate. In America, he contacted the French Minister in Philadelphia to determine if the French were serious in aiding a full scale rising of the United Irishmen. He went to France and secured that aid and in December 1796, a French invasion force sailed for Ireland. On board, in the uniform of a French Adjutant General, was Theobald Wolfe Tone.
On December 21, a French fleet with 12,000 troops arrived at Bantry Bay, but the ship carrying the invasion commanders had separated from the fleet. The landing was delayed until their arrival, but as they waited, a full scale hurricane scattered the French fleet. One by one the ships returned to France. It was later revealed by a British Admiralty official, that the captain of the commanders’ ship had accepted a bribe to take the Commanders on an alternate route. Tone returned to France to plead for another expedition. Meanwhile in Ireland, the United Irishmen were defined as disloyal and had become targets of a new group formed among Church of Ireland men who felt that not enough was being done to exterminate ‘Catholic troublemakers’. They called themselves the Orange Order; they raided homes d businesses, murdered Catholic tenants and burned their homes to the ground.
Society headquarters shifted to Dublin where men like Lawyer Thomas A. Emmet, Doctor William McNevin and Lord Edward Fitzgerald were involved. Fitzgerald had served in a British regiment in the American colonies and felt that the guerrilla tactics of the colonists should be used. Under his influence, the Society grew from a reform movement to an underground army. The leaders argued to wait for French aid, but Lord Edward urged a general rising across the country. An informer gave the names of the leaders and location of their meeting to Dublin Police who arrested them all except Fitzgerald. On March 30, the Brits put the country under Martial Law and there followed brutal methods of interrogation – a wooden triangle to hold a man for flogging with a cat o’ nine tails; a portable traveling gallows to half-hang a man and pitch-capping by massaging a mixture of tar and gunpowder into the hair and setting it alight with agonizing effect. Fear of pitch-capping caused many to crop their hair short even though they ran the risk of being identified as United Irish supporters; they earned the name Croppys. The song The Croppy Boy may now have more meaning for you.
On May 23, 1798, individual groups of United Irishmen rose in several counties but were put down by soldiers billeted there. With no central command to the rising, government successes soon led frenzied Orangemen to engage in ‘croppy hunts’ causing entire villages to flee before them. The once well-planned reform movement had degenerated into clashes between leaderless mobs and the Brits easily won control. General Cornwallis, recently defeated by an American army made up primarily of Irish emigrants, was given a chance to redeem himself by a furious King George III. In June he sailed for Dublin. Meanwhile, the Brits drove the largest group of rebels in Wexford back to a final stand on a hill near Enniscorthy. That hill, once covered with wild berrys, had the old local Gaelic name of Fidh naGcaer (Fidh – the Hill; na – of; Caer – the Berrys); it was now covered with people. Unable to pronounce the Irish, the Brits called it Vinegar Hill, which was also appropriate for what happened there was bitter wine indeed. On June 21, 10,000 British troops, with 20 pieces of artillery, opened a bombardment on the 20,000 men, women, and children herded together on the summit. After a day and night of assault, the Irish were massacred. By August 20 it was over. The rebellion lasted three months and cost more than 25,000 lives of which only 2,000 were loyalists. But what happened to the French aid?
That answer came 2 days later on August 22 as General Humbert and a force of 1,000 French troops arrived at the wrong time and at the wrong place – Killala Bay in County Mayo on Ireland’s west coast. Tone was following with a larger force and behind him the indomitable Napper Tandy with yet more troops. Could the rising begin again? The word went out: The West’s Awake! Humbert recruited a thousand local Irish and marched on the English at Castlebar. He routed them and marched inland. Cornwallis consolidated the powerful British army and split his forces to surround Humbert and the Irish. On September 8, he closed the net at Ballinamuck, County Longford. Humbert was hopelessly outnumbered. After a half-hour battle, he surrendered his 850 troops and 1000 Irish allies to the British army of 30,000. The Irish were slaughtered to a man while Humbert and his forces were repatriated back to France as honorable foes, but not before British Captain Packenham disgraced Humbert on the field of battle by taking his sword and stripping his epaulets. An angry Napoleon dismissed Humbert to a position in the French colony at New Orleans where he later retired. However, he and Packenham would meet again 14 years later as now General Packenham led the British forces in an attack on New Orleans in the American War of 1812 and Humbert came out of retirement to fight by Andy Jackson’s side to defeat his old enemy; but that’s another story.
On October 12, Wolfe Tone and reinforcements arrived in yet another disjointed piece of the overall revolution. They ran directly into a waiting British fleet. Tone commanded a battery of ships guns, but after 6 hours the French fleet was destroyed, and Tone was captured. On October 16, Napper Tandy, with yet another fleet, landed in Donegal and learned of Humbert’s surrender and Tone’s capture. He wisely sailed back to the continent. Wolfe Tone was taken to Dublin and sentenced to be hanged as a traitor. He requested to be afforded the death of a soldier, to be shot, rather than hanged, but his request was denied. He died in prison of a neck wound at the age of 35. History records his death as a suicide but there remains some doubt. The rank and file of the United Irish society were pursued and eliminated. Loyalists, believing that all Catholics had all been part of a conspiracy to slaughter them, intimidated the majority of the population into a slave-mentality that crippled the spirit of resistance for a whole generation. Ireland remained a most depressed country until Daniel O’Connell began raising the cause of Catholic emancipation once again in the 1840s and the Irish began to raise their heads. When they did, they heard the voice of Thomas Davis and the Young Irelanders resurrecting the doctrines of Wolfe Tone who was now recognized as the Father of Irish Republicanism. Tone’s revolution was, in fact, the very first thrust for National independence. Previous risings were merely attempts at reconfiguring relations with the Crown. The 1569 and 79 Desmond rebellions; the 1593-1603 Nine Years War of O’Neill, O’Donnell and Maguire; the 1640-42 Confederation War in support of Charles II; the 1690 Rising in support of the Jacobite claim to the Crown would all have left Ireland still a colony of England. As the spirit of true independence once more began to beat in Irish hearts, a verse appeared in the April 1843 edition of the rebel newspaper, The Nation. It read:
“Who fears to speak of ‘98? Who blushes at the name?
When cowards mock the patriot’s fate, who hangs his head for shame?
He’s all a knave, or half a slave who slights his country thus;
But true men, like you men, come fill your glass with us.”
UTICA NY GIFTS A HERO TO CHICAGO
by Mike McCormack, NY State Historian
On 31 May 1885 a monument was unveiled at Calvary cemetery in Chicago to honor the memory of Colonel Jamdes A. Mulligan, the hero of Lexington, Missouri. He was born 30 June 1830 in Utica, New York to Irish immigrant parents. When his father died, his mother remarried and moved the family to Chicago, Illinois. James studied law there, supported local Catholic activities and joined a military company in Chicago named The Shields Guards and reached the rank of Captain. The Shield Guards were formed in 1854 in honor of Irish-born James Shields, a veteran of the Black Hawk War, a breveted Major General in the Mexican War and Brigadier General in the eastern theater of the Civil War; he was also the only man to serve as Senator from three states (but that’s another story).
When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Mulligan raised the 23rd Illinois Infantry Regiment, known locally as the Chicago Irish Brigade, which included the Shield Guards. The term Brigade was used by many Irish units of less than Brigade strength in memory of Ireland’s Wild Geese forced into exile to become the Irish Brigades in European armies after the faithless 1691 Treaty of Limerick.
In September 1861, Mulligan led his troops to Lexington, Missouri, as that vital river town faced attack by the Confederate army under Gen. Sterling Price. In one of those brother vs brother moments, Price’s forces included Kelly’s Irish Brigade, a St. Louis-based Irish militia unit whose colors proclaimed ‘What Washington did for America – We will do for Ireland.’ On 13 September, Price’s army of approximately 18,000 men began an all-out assault on Mulligan’s 3,500-man command. Mulligan and his men held their own against the overwhelming odds, even pushing Price’s force back once. Confederate cannon fire rained down for seven days during ‘attack and defend’ battles. However, by 2PM on the 20th, Mulligan had no choice but to surrender when no relief arrived and his men ran out of ammunition. General Price was so impressed by Mulligan’s courage and conduct during and after the battle that he offered his own horse and carriage and ordered him safely escorted back to Union lines with his Brigade’s colors: a green flag with a golden harp in the center.
His men were exchanged later and continued to distinguish themselves in battle. In 1864, around Leetown, Virginia, during the Second Shenandoah Valley Campaign, they faced Confederate General Jubal Early. Federal troops were retreating in the face of Early’s relentless advance down the Shenandoah Valley. Hoping to buy time to concentrate Union forces and supplies, Union Maj. Gen. Franz Sigel ordered Mulligan to hold at Leestown for as long as possible to allow other Union forces to safely withdraw. Being vastly outnumbered by the Confederates again, Mulligan bought them the valuable time needed, but on 24 July, he was mortally wounded. When his men attempted to carry him from the battlefield he ordered, “Boys, don’t lose the colors of the Irish Brigade”; as they tried to lift him he said, “Lay me down and save the flag”. They regretfully did as he ordered and Mulligan was captured by General Early’s forces, he died from his wounds two days later.
Twenty-one years later, Chicago’s Daily Inter Ocean newspaper for 31 May 1885 reported that several hundred mourners were carried by special train to Calvary Cemetery in Chicago to see the dedication of a monument to the courageous Irish-American from Utica, NY. It was erected, they reported, ‘by the people, for the preservation of whose liberties he fought and yielded up his life.’ As the train arrived, a procession formed up led by the Hibernian Rifles of the AOH followed by 40 members of his old regiment wearing black and silver badges provided by Mrs. Mulligan, delegates from the Mulligan Post of the Grand Army of the Republic and Sons of Veterans Chicago Post Number One, all behind a Brass Band playing a dirge as they marched to the monument situated just inside the Main Gate. The monument was described as ‘richly carved of eastern granite and in design is modern gothic. It comprises a massive base nine feet square from which arises four sides. On one face is a fine likeness in bold relief of Colonel Mulligan, two other faces have raised laurel wreaths; on the west face is carved, ‘This monument has been erected by the State of Illinois and the citizens of Chicago, July 26, 1884.’ A 35-foot column rises from the base surmounted by a richly molded Celtic Cross.’ Just west of the monument a platform was erected for the dignitaries and Mrs. Marian Mulligan, their three daughters and other family members. The ceremony included many remembrances of Col Mulligan and ended with a song written for the occasion entitled Lay me down and save the Flag! The newspaper article concluded with the editorial comment that, ‘His Brigade proved that the Irish were as ready to fight and die, if necessary, for their adopted country as the native-born citizens were. Colonel Mulligan’s chief idea was to raise an Irish Division commanded by an Irish general. He said, “Give Shields a Division, make it Irish and Fontenoy will live again.” It was men like Colonel Mulligan that defeated the biased treatment of Irish immigrants in early America – and that was their greatest victory!
Thanks to Paul Winslow, Historian of AOH Father Tim Dempsey Div 1, St. Louis, MO, for some of the information in this story.
Brother Kelly was a retired Detective for the New York City Police Department & an Analyst for the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration.Here are a few words from Brother Kelly’s Lifetime Membership Application:
“Sharing my knowledge of the AOH Constitution and By-Laws with new members of our respective Division and County. Imparting the history of the Irish and the Irish American People and the contributions they made over many centuries as immigrants, their hardships, rejections and sufferings. And, of course, on a positive note, the many accomplishments they contributed to their adopted country…I enjoyed every minute of it.”
Please keep Jim Kelly, his wife Breda and his children, William and Maria and their families in your prayers.
May St. Patrick guard you
wherever you go,
and guide you in whatever you do–
and may his loving protection
be a blessing to you always.
Joseph Duelk Jr. AOH Division 1
Note to those wishing to pay their respect:
Division #1 and other AOH members will participate in a Wake Service at 6:00 pm on Sunday, July 19. The Division #1 hall will be open at 5:00 pm if anyone is interested in meeting there before heading over to Flynn Funeral Home.
On Monday, July 20th the Division and Band will lead a short procession of the hearse as it leaves from Flynn’s for the funeral. This will be at 9:15 am.
At 10:15 the Division and band will lead an escort into St. Columba’s in Chester for an 11:00 am funeral Mass.
Burial will follow at the Orange County Veterans’ Cemetery in Goshen.
County Members, if you plan to attend, please wear your parade uniform.
Stormont First Minister Arlene Foster recently boasted she would never see a referendum on Irish unity in her lifetime, much less a united Ireland. A British Appeals Court ruled it was solely up to Britain, if, when, or what to consider, before allowing any Irish unity vote. The British are designing new measures to bury the truth about the legacy murders of nationalists and to deny Republicans conflict injury pensions.
The British are clearly signaling their intent to hold onto the six counties permanently and to deny justice in order to cement that hold. Ireland needs America to play a vital role to get justice and national freedom for all Ireland. AOH leadership and initiatives are crucial to getting America to fulfill that vital role.
Under the leadership of our Worthy National President and National officers, the FFAI National Committee, including Brendan Moore, Gerry McHale, Malachy McAllister, Jim McLaughlin, Sean O’Dowd, Bob Bolbach and myself were assigned to implement the following Constitutional and Presidential Directives.
Article X-Section 15
FFAI Chairman is the major information resource relative to promoting support for a 32 county Ireland. As such, he is tasked with using all opportunities and means to provide members with background on developing issues and concerns.
His responsibility includes providing varied means for communicating the AOH membership’s position on critical issues related to the above.
The chairman shall also organize and facilitate the annual FFAI Christmas appeal.
Support and inform the membership on all Congressional, state, and local government legislative action relating to the abolition of the Partition of Ireland, or to injustices arising from the denial of freedom for all Ireland, including where feasible initiating and supporting resolutions or other legislative actions.
Prepare and submit articles reflecting AOH POSITIONS on issues relevant to freedom for all Ireland or injustices arising from the denial of freedom for all Ireland for publication in Irish-American, or Irish outlets.
Following these directives since our last National Convention, FFAI initiatives included:
1-The AOH conducted national speaking tours on the Ballymurphy Massacre with Carmel Quinn, on the denial of legacy justice with Mark Thompson of Relatives for Justice, and on British complicity in collusion with Professor Mark McGovern.
2-In Congress the AOH arranged for speakers to brief the House Foreign Affairs Committee and obtained a series of Congressional Letters on Legacy issues which put British officials on notice they were under American Congressional scrutiny. We have lobbied in Washington and district offices to build a growing Congressional network that can be counted upon.
3-In state legislatures, New York among others, held formal ceremonies celebrating the centenaries of Ireland’s Declaration of Independence and 1918 vote for freedom (and were scheduled to commemorate the 1920 heroes of the Black and Tan War).
4-FFAI worked together with our National Immigration Committee and National Treasurer, to help FFAI Committee member Malachy McAllister in his quarter century fight against unjust deportation, as well as backing Irish political deportees and other immigration issues which are directly interconnected with the Irish conflict and denial of freedom for all Ireland.
5-A 37 member AOH-LAOH delegation in February 2019, led by our National President and LAOH National President, attended the Ballymurphy Inquest, visited Belfast, Derry, and Tyrone and represented AOH concerns to Irish government officials.
6- The AOH-LAOH had a record setting Christmas Appeal, approving grants for Relatives for Justice, Pat Finucane Centre, Holy Cross Ardoyne, EALU center for Tyrone Republican ex-political prisoners, New Lodge Commemoration Committee, Conway Mill Trust, Cairde Strabane, St. Patrick Centre, Downpatrick, Duchas Oiriall-South Armagh, Bridges beyond Boxing, Belfast, Down Patriot Graves, Green Cross, Belfast National Graves, Omagh Basketball, Omagh Choir, and first time recipients Ballymurphy Families Committee, Museum of Free Derry, Tyrone National Graves and the Witness Project.
7-The monthly FFAI Bulletin is now part of the monthly email blast carried on the National and state AOH web sites. These bulletins provide monthly updates on a few key events in the north with short analysis. Our bulletins are now requested by other Irish organizations and individuals. Through these materials the AOH is influencing the agenda for these organizations.
8-Most recently, under a proposal by National Vice-President Danny O’Connell, the AOH initiated a series of video interviews with leading advocates of justice and freedom for all Ireland, beginning with Mark Thompson of Relatives for Justice, Joe Austin and Brendan McFarlane of Belfast National Graves, and John Kelly and Adrian Kerr of the Bloody Sunday Trust and Museum of Free Derry. These interviews explain and promote the work done by our Christmas Appeal grant recipients, and provide updates on important issues. These interviews also let our members hear firsthand how much AOH FFAI political work, financial contributions and publicity mean.
NATIONAL SPEAKING TOURS
Nothing is as inspirational as hearing firsthand from those still denied freedom in Ireland. Because of the work and interest of AOH members across the country the AOH was able to send speakers to Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, Connecticut and Virginia along with New York, Philadelphia, Albany, New Jersey, and Washington DC.
AOH national tours made news in Irish and Irish American They gave AOH members opportunities to show leadership and build the organization locally. Other Irish organizations supported our events and joined issues and priorities set by the AOH. These tours also gave a morale boost to victims groups in Ireland, as speakers returned and reported that America and the AOH was behind them.
These speaking tour events give a major boost to our Christmas Appeal
1-We are hoping to make a firm proposal for a new speaking tour in November which could provide a speaker for some of our Christmas Appeal events, follow-up on FFAI political issues post-election and motivate more areas to support our FFAI political and fundraising initiatives.
2-In the interim we will be working on the initiative of our National VP Danny O’Connell to bring updates or interviews to you via computer. We understand this is not as effective as bringing speakers here for you to meet, ask your own questions and share your concerns personally.
3-FFAI has submitted a resolutions in anticipation of the 40th anniversary year of the 1981 Hunger Strike, to promote national and local commemorative events about the legacy of the Hunger Strike martyrs and a resolution on British moves to cut off the truth on legacy killings. FFAI will recommend speakers relating to these issue.
At the request of AOH FFAI, the House Foreign Affairs Committee hosted a special briefing by Mark Thompson of Relatives for Justice and Professor Mark McGovern, only 9 days after Boris Johnson announced plans to stop prosecutions of British troopers during the 1969-98 conflict. Congressman Eliot Engel scheduled the briefing, attended by Congressmen, many Congressional aides, two observers from the Irish Embassy and an observer from the British Northern Ireland Office. Mark Thompson and Professor McGovern urged Congress, to take a lead along with Irish America and the Irish government in opposing a trooper amnesty which would be a political disaster and violation of the Good Friday agreement.
Among Congressmen present were Eliot Engel, Brian Higgins, Brendan Boyle, Tim Burchett, Bill Keating, Thomas Suozzi and Dan Kildee. Other Congressmen sent key aides, led by Billy Tranghese representing Congressman Richard Neal. The Irish government was represented by Deputy Head of Mission Emer Rocke and Political Counsellor Brian Cahalane.
The British pay close attention to American Congressional scrutiny. FFAI was able to organize this hearing and also a series of Congressional letters to the British Ambassador.
FFAI speakers from Ireland also help in AOH efforts to build up a network of Congressmen, who are aware of key FFAI issues and the importance of Irish issues to voters in their district. Brothers living in Congressional districts across the country, are a key part of this effort.
1-FFAI is calling upon AOH members across the country to contact your local Senators and Congressmen, and advise them that issues like legacy justice are important to Irish voters in their district. Try to establish contacts in local offices that we can contact about speakers from Ireland or Congressional letters etc
STATES-CITIES HONOR HUNGER STRIKE MARTYRS LEGACY
The AOH has been successful in getting some states, cities and municipalities to hold formal ceremonies commemorating the centenaries of Ireland’s Declaration of Independence and 1918 vote for freedom . After building credibility through ceremonies honoring the events of a century ago, next year we can try a more recent event. Next year marks the 40th anniversary of the 1981 Hunger Strike, the death of Bobby Sands MP and nine others. The Hunger Strike and what it represented should be the theme of resolutions in states, cities and municipalities across the state and nation.
We can again show state and local officials that the AOH wants Irish issues and history treated with the same attention that other ethnic groups get for their issues and history.
Next year is also the centenary of the six county state. It is important to remember that the British are celebrating an area carved out of Ireland against the democratic wishes of the Irish people expressed in the all-Ireland vote of 1918 and Declaration of Independence. The Hunger Strike also highlights that the six county Orange State treated Irish patriots as criminals and tortured them as part of a British propaganda strategy..
1-The National FFAI Resolution submitted to the Convention about the legacy of the 1981 Hunger Strike, will be modified and circulated across the country with AOH members nationally encouraged to seek state and municipal resolutions and ceremonies across the nation.
MALACHY McALLISTER AND DEPORTEES
Malachy McAllister and other Irish political deportee cases involve FFAI and Immigration issue. I have worked on these cases jointly with Immigration Chair Dan Dennehy and National Treasurer Sean Pender.
We are all disappointed at the injustice done Malachy McAllister. He of course is a personal friend and a key member of the National FFAI Committee. We should not overlook all that Malachy accomplished.
Few individuals could have inspired the support needed to keep Malachy in America so long. Senators Menendez, Schumer, Congressmen King, Engel, Smith, Neal and Pascrell among others personally intervened. Cardinal Dolan called the President. Many law enforcement and military officials appealed for him. The Irish Embassy backed him. The AOH and other Irish organizations campaigned for him. Malachy became a leading AOH member fighting for others.
Malachy has multiple grounds which should have entitled him to legal permanent residence under American law. He was a political prisoner decades ago, in a war now long over. He and his children were targeted for assassination. The Good Friday and Weston Park agreements were said to hold promises for ex-prisoners which were never kept.
Malachy McAllister became a political pawn, in Britain’s game of criminalization. The British want to brand Republicans as criminals. In the north they manipulate definitions of victim to disqualify injured Republican ex-prisoners from conflict pensions. Here Britain wants an American rubberstamp on criminalization through deportations and visa denial.
We will continue to fight for him and also fight to insure that DHS/ICE does not try to victimize others at Britain’s behest.
February 2021 Fact-Finding Tour
In 2019, Hibernians completed a highly publicized nine day fact-finding mission led by President Jim McKay and LAOH President Carol Sheyer and including leading Hibernians from 13 states. This fact-finding tour had a tremendous impact on everyone who attended. It was also a major morale boost to groups in Ireland who count on AOH support.
Next year we have hoping conditions will allow us to sponsor a similar tour. Following our Resolution about the 1981 Hunger Strike legacy, FFAI makes the following proposal.
1-In February of 2021,we are proposing a tour that would include meeting the families of all of the Hunger Strikers as well as discuss the continuing legacy and political meaning of the 1981 Hunger Strike today.
The 2019-2020 Christmas Appeal was a record breaking success with almost $100,000 awarded to a total of nineteen groups.
Grants were awarded based on written applications, and recommendations from the National FFAI Committee. Final determinations were made by our National officers.
Every designated donation to approved groups was honored and groups named for designated donations got additional monies because we wanted contributions to reflect your feelings.
New applications were approved for the Ballymurphy Families Committee, Bloody Sunday Trust (which oversees the Museum of Free Derry), Tyrone National Graves, and the Witness Project headed by Sean Murray.
Repeat recipients included -Relatives for Justice, Pat Finucane Centre, Holy Cross Ardoyne, EALU-(means Escape in Irish)is a center for Republican ex-political prisoners, New Lodge Commemoration Committee, Conway Mill Trust, Tyrone AOH, Cairde Strabane, St. Patrick Centre, Downpatrick, Duchas Oiriall-South Armagh, Bridges beyond Boxing, Belfast, Down Patriot Graves, Green Cross, Belfast National Graves, Omagh Basketball and Omagh Choir.
Donations can be sent to our PO Box:
PO BOX 904
JEFFERSON VALLEY, NY 10535
Obviously we are concerned about the impact the health crisis may have on the 2020-21 Christmas Appeal. All states should be involved in supporting the Christmas Appeal.
1-FFAI is proposing that every state President, personally or through an appointee, support the Christmas Appeal within their state. States and county boards are encouraged to combine donations to earn the award given for $1,000 donors.
FFAI MONTHLY BULLETINS
In response to requests for information we established a monthly FFAI Bulletin. All issues are now part of the monthly email blast. They are now carried on the National AOH site and the New York State web site. The aim is to give you monthly updates on a few key events in the north with short analysis and explanations.
Special acknowledgement and thanks to our National officers, to the members of the FFAI National Committee, Brendan Moore, Gerry McHale, Malachy McAllister, Jim McLaughlin, and Sean O’Dowd, Bob Bolbach and to every AOH member across the country who works for Freedom for all Ireland!
June 10, 2020
BATTLE OF THE BOYNE
by Mike McCormack, NY State Historian
CAN ANYBODY TELL ME WHY, ORANGEMEN MARCH ON THE TWELFTH OF JULY?
During the reign of Queen Elizabeth, a religious and political upheaval known as the Protestant Reformation splintered Catholic Europe. Reformers like Luther, Calvin and her father, Henry VIII, had challenged the Papacy for religious and political redistribution of wealth and power. Elizabeth died in 1603 without an heir and the House of Stuart replaced the House of Tudor when the son of Mary, Queen of Scots, took the throne as James I. Born Catholic, he was brought up Presbyterian and as King he was the head of the Anglican Church. When he died in 1625, his son Charles I took the throne and offended his Anglican, Puritan and Presbyterian subjects by marrying Henrietta Maria, a Catholic French princess. He also failed to help Protestants enough in their Thirty Years’ War against Catholics. His marriage and religious policies made him mistrusted by those who thought his views were too Catholic. As a result, by late 1648, Oliver Cromwell’s Model Army took control of England and Charles was tried, convicted, and executed in January 1649.
The monarchy was abolished and a Commonwealth established. After Cromwell’s died in 1658, his son Richard proved to be a poor leader and the public resented the strict Puritanism of his administration. In 1660, the monarchy was restored as the son of Charles I was invited to the throne as Charles II. As head of the Anglican Church, he accepted the Test Act that no one could be elected to a position of power unless they belonged to that Church. He had Cromwell posthumously convicted of treason and his body disinterred and hanged from a gallows at Tyburn. In 1670, Charles signed a treaty with French King Louis XIV to support France’s war against the Dutch. His younger brother, James, was made Duke of York and engineered the seizure of New Amsterdam from the Dutch in 1664 and renamed it New York in his honor. Charles’s wife, Queen Catherine, failed to produce a male heir, and by 1677 many Protestants feared his Catholic brother, James, would soon assume the throne. To appease the public, in 1677 Charles arranged for James’ daughter, Mary, to wed the Dutch Protestant William of Orange. However, Charles got the last word and angered his subjects when he converted and became a Catholic on his deathbed. His brother then became James II of England and his Catholicism was grudgingly accepted since he was 52 years old, had no sons and as King he was head of the Anglican Church. Further, his daughters, Mary and Anne, were Protestant and Mary was heir apparent so all was well. Then James’ wife gave birth to a son!
James Francis Edward Stuart was born on 10 June 1688 and everything changed; a male heir insured a Stuart succession and a Catholic dynasty. Further, James suspended the Scottish and English Parliaments when they refused to repeal the anti-Catholic Test Act. His Anglican supporters remained loyal until he prosecuted seven Anglican bishops who opposed him publicly in June 1688. They took that as an assault on their church and it led to widespread anti-Catholic riots throughout England and Scotland destroying his political authority. Several prominent English Protestants, fearful of James’ promotion of Catholic power and a Catholic succession, invited William of Orange to lead an army to England and call a new Parliament to discuss James’ legitimacy. James was sure his forces could repel such an invasion, but when his Protestant officers deserted to the enemy, James fled to France! On 12 February 1689, Parliament declared James had abdicated and offered the crown to William and Mary Stuart and William III became the first Orange king by deposing his Father-in-Law in a bloodless coup. William and Mary became co-regents of England, Scotland and Ireland.
James saw Ireland as a way to reclaim his crown. Unlike England, Ireland was predominantly Catholic and in March 1689, James landed in Ireland with a force supplied by King Louis XIV of France. William decided to assert his power and arrived in Ireland in June 1690. Amazingly, William was supported by Pope Alexander VIII because the Papacy was part of a “Grand Alliance” opposing Louis XIV’s war in Europe and since Louis supported James, the Pope supported William!! Arriving in Ireland, William intended to march south to take Dublin, but James had established a defensive line at the river Boyne 30 miles north of Dublin. William had to cross the river which was a problem, however, he had an advantage over James: his 36,000 men outnumbered James’ 23,500. The battle took place on 1 July 1690 and William defeated the Irish who retreated south. Meanwhile, James deserted his army in the field and fled to France (by now he knew the way well). He lived out his days in exile as the last Catholic King of England. He also earned a title bestowed by the army he deserted ─ Seamus a Caca! No year in Irish history is better known than 1690. English historians refer to the Bloodless Revolution, but there was a great deal of bloodshed in Ireland until the Treaty of Limerick ended the conflict in October 1691. The treaty offered generous terms to Catholics if those who opposed William would leave Ireland forever. When the ‘Flight of the Wild Geese’ saw the cream of Irish forces leave to be absorbed into the Irish Brigades of foreign armies, the Treaty was broken and Penal Laws invoked to reinforce Protestant domination throughout Irish life. And it all started with the Battle of the Boyne which the Orangemen celebrate to this day. However, there’s more to the story!
A papal bull issued by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 had dropped 10 days from the Julian calendar creating the Gregorian calendar followed today. Though the Orange Order has been commemorating the battle on 12 July for nearly 300 years, it actually took place on 1 July 1690 according to the calendar changed 108 years earlier. Either way, that’s not the only thing they are wrong about, is it?
SO NOW YOU SEE WHY THEY CELEBRATE, THE PROBLEM IS IT’S ON THE WRONG DATE!
Since the original Call to Action went out in support of Malachy McAllister, we have been advised that the White House switchboard will not be active for the foreseeable future. We therefore encourage you to email the White House with your support for Malachy.
To send an email to the President simply follow the steps below
Access the contact the White House Web Page at “www.whitehouse.gov/contact“.
On the Form, for “Message Type” select “Contact the President”
Fill out the remaining fields for your name, address, etc.,
In the box
“What would you like to say?”; just copy and past:
“I am making an urgent appeal to President Trump, who has been supportive in the past, to prevent the June 5 deportation of Malachy McAllister, an ardent supporter of the Irish Peace process, who, as a law-abiding resident of the U.S. for 24 years, has become a job creator and essential member of our Irish American community. This effort has received support from bipartisan members of Congress and Cardinal Dolan. Last Thanksgiving, President Trump stated his desire to see a permanent resolution to Mr. McAllister’s effort to stay in the USA. As an active Irish American voter, I implore our President to keep Malachy here. Thank you.”