From the desk of NYS AOH Vice President

Brothers,

Please keep Brother Peter C. Lyne, S.S.P. of AOH Division 4, Staten Island, NY  and his family in your prayers. Brother Peter passed away on May 14, 2020.  Although his funeral services were private, AOH Division IV along with fellow AOH & LAOH Hibernians organized outside of the Alba House to honor him on his ride from the funeral home to his final resting place. 

A Post from Kevin F. Mannion President AOH Division IV

” Yesterday we joined our fellow AOH & LAOH Hibernians to honor Brother Peter Lyne of the Society of Saint Paul, a man who devoted his life to serving God.

When people ask why I’m a Hibernian, I have many reasons, but the motto of Friendship, Unity & Christian Charity sums it up best.

Men and women of all ages stood outside wearing masks and maintaining distance from one another to honor one of their own. We may have be ‘socially distant’ but we’ve never been closer together.”

Thank you all for displaying what a true Hibernian looks like.

Rest In Peace Brother Peter,

John Manning
NYS AOH Vice President

You can read his full obituary here…
https://matthewfuneralhome.com/tribute/details/1035/Brother-Peter-Lyne-S-S-P/obituary.html

 

Freedom For All Ireland Report – May 2020

May 2020

FFAI ISSUES UPDATE
Martin Galvin

A chairde:

A-Catholic Bishops, legal scholars and justice campaigners slam British plan on legacy killings- Four Catholic Bishops, legal experts and justice campaigners slammed British plans on crown legacy killings, accusing Britain of “bad faith” and “rewriting the rules of justice.” Instead of an Historical Investigations Unit investigating hundreds of controversial killings, including British trooper killings, Britain wants only a review by their appointed “independent body”. This panel would close all cases, unless they saw “new compelling evidence and a realistic prospect of a prosecution”. They would hold no investigation to look for new evidence, before ruling there was none.

Bishops Eamon Martin, Noel Treanor, Donal McKeown, Larry Duffy and Michael Router, expressed “alarm and disappointment” at the plan announced by British secretary Brandon Lewis. They said the British had stepped away from the Stormont House Agreement and the fundamental principle that “justice would be pursued, where possible, regardless of the identity of the perpetrator.” The Bishops concluded, “For those victims who do not feel justly treated, the wounds of the past will never fully heal. We therefore support the ongoing pursuit of appropriate criminal, legal and civic justice for all victims”.

Professor Kieran McEvoy, Dr Anna Bryson and Professor Louise Mallinder of Queen’s University Belfast, joined Committee for the Administration of Justice lawyer Gemma McKeown, to publish: Prosecutions, Imprisonment and the Stormont House Agreement: A Critical Analysis of Proposals on Dealing with the Past in Northern Ireland. Ms. McKeown said,“ For some members of the current government, and some back-benchers, even one soldier being convicted and imprisoned for conflict related offences is one too many. It is that urge for impunity, dressed up as ‘witch-hunt’ that appears to be propelling government policy”. They found Britain’s plan incompatible with the European Convention on Human rights (ECHR), the Good Friday Agreement, and Stormont House Agreement. The British countered opposition by referring their proposals to be rubberstamped b the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee at Westminster. Mark Thompson of Relatives for Justice said : “This committee does not hold the confidence of the many thousands of people from across our entire community bereaved and injured as a result of collusion and direct state violence”.
Amnesty International’s Grainne Teggart said Britain’s plans “amount to a further betrayal of victims and are the latest attempt to close down paths to justice”…Amnesty will be submitting to the Westminster inquiry to highlight a human rights compatible way forward to finally deal with the past.”
B-No new Irish government formed nearly 100 days after election-The search continues for a governing coalition supported by at least 80 elected Dail representatives. Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil agreed on a “full and equal partnership” for five years, during which they would rotate the position of Taoiseach. Both parties lost seats in the February election, ending in a parliament, unable to muster a majority. Fianna Fail with 38 seats and Fine Gael with 35,are negotiating with the Green Party holding 12 seats. All three parties have competing interests and all compromises made by party negotiating teams must be approved by a full party members vote..Any agreement by the Greens must be passed by two-thirds of the party membership before they join a coalition. The Greens have been racked with internal turmoil over entering talks and members have been meeting via video link to debate Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael’s policy framework document. Fianna Fail and Fine Gael could also try Labour and other small parties as potential partners but there is no guarantee any party will join a coalition facing economic dislocation and hard choices. Both parties still refuse to talk to Sinn Fein which won 37 seats, citing historic links to the IRA. The Fine Gael-Fianna Fail policy document contains a section on a “Shared Island” and proposes a unit to work towards a “united island” but makes no reference to a united Ireland.
C- Kevin Barry Artt, who escaped Long Kesh and won refuge in America sees conviction dismissed 37 years later-The Diplock Court conviction which sent Kevin Barry Artt to Britain’s Long Kesh Prison in 1983,was reversed because the written notes of his so-called confession were fabricated by the Royal Ulster Constabulary. Artt was one of 37 IRA members who escaped from Britain’s top security prison in 1983.He settled in California, and defeated Britain’s attempt to extradite him back to the north. He had been convicted in a non-jury court where the only evidence was a disputed admission that he was one of the IRA members who killed a notorious Long Kesh prison official in 1978.This conviction was reversed because scientific tests proved RUC members revised their written notes of the statement to convict him. The ruling means that Artt should never have been sent to Long Kesh, forced to escape or flee to the USA.
Kevin Barry Artt was part of the great escape from Long Kesh , regarded as one of the biggest prison escapes in history. He fled to America, settling in California and establishing himself as a successful car salesman. In 1992 he was arrested on a passport violation, and British officials filed to have him extradited back to Long Kesh. In a landmark 1998 decision the United States Court of Appeals refused to extradite him and two other escapees, Terry Kirby, and Pol Brennan, upholding their right to show the political bias in Britain’s non-jury Diplock court political trials. Mr Artt, who has lived on the west coast ever since, renewed an appeal he had lodged before his escape. He challenged his so-called confession during RUC interviews in 1981,maintaining he had been subjected to ill-treatment, coercion, threats, misleading promises and that the RUC had fabricated the statements. Scientific tests proved him right.
Following the verdict Mr Artt’s lawyer Fearghal Shiels of Madden & Finucane said: “This is the latest in a number of appeals in this jurisdiction which highlight a depressing enthusiasm on the part of RUC officers to lie on oath to a court to secure a conviction of an innocent man at any cost.”
D-No checks on British control over border poll-A Court of Appeals proceeding started by campaigner Raymond McCord to compel the British Secretary for the north to set out criteria for holding a border poll on Irish reunification, has instead
resulted in a British Court of Appeal ruling that no criteria are required. The ruling was the latest in a series of cases brought by Mr. McCord testing issues like Brexit and the Good Friday Agreement, which ended in adverse rulings. He claimed the British Secretary’s failure to set out circumstances in which he would direct the holding of a poll on unifying Ireland breached constitutional issues.
The court said the British Secretary could decide what factors to consider for granting a border poll and noted there was no requirement for guidelines in either the 1998 Belfast Agreement or in the legislation enacting it, the Northern Ireland Act.
E-Britain rejects EU request for post-Brexit Belfast office- The British government has rejected the EU’s request for a Belfast office needed to check post-Brexit Irish border trade. The EU had to close its offices across the north when Britain exited the bloc on January 31st, but EU officials must be present to monitor checks and controls on goods crossing the Irish Sea, which could then be transported into the 26 counties. Under Britain’s withdrawal agreement, the north stays in the single market, but remains within Britain’s customs territory to allow it to gain from future British trade deals. However the full EU customs code has to be enforced on goods travelling between the six counties and British mainland.
The protocol agreed last October stated that EU officials “have the right to be present” during customs and regulatory checks on goods entering the north from Britain, in order to ensure they comply with Single Market rules.
Irish Tánaiste, Simon Coveney said the EU understood that British officials would carry out the required checks but that there would be an EU office with officials able to observe checks taking place.“The whole point was to provide reassurance not just to Ireland but to the EU more generally that the Single Market was not being undermined or compromised… In other words, some across the EU have a concern that Northern Ireland becomes a sort of unguarded back door for goods to come into the Single Market through Ireland and the protocol has to deal with that.” The agreement was supposed to avoid a hard border across Ireland.

REMBERING THE LEGACY OF HUNGER STRIKE MARTYRS

Thirty-nine years ago this month, in May 1981,Bobby Sands MP, Francis Hughes, Raymond McCreesh and Patsy O’Hara died on Hunger Strike in the infamous H-Blocks of Long Kesh, rather than let Britain brand them as criminals wearing criminal uniforms.

These men were born into Britain’s Orange State, which used systematic religious discrimination in employment, housing and voting rights to make them second class citizens in their own land. Civil rights marches were met with violence, leading to conflict.

After events including Internment or indefinite imprisonment without charge or trial, the Hooded Men torture, the Ballymurphy Massacre, Bloody Sunday and a Hunger Strike led by legendary IRA Commander Billy McKee in 1972 , British policy makers conceded that those imprisoned because of the Irish conflict, were not criminals but special category political prisoners.

Conditions associated with prisoner-of-war status, such as no criminal uniform, no prison work, association with other political prisoners, etc, were honored in the cages of Long Kesh.

Soon British ministers who claimed there was no legitimate struggle for freedom in Ireland and no political prisoners merely criminals in Long Kesh or Armagh, were challenged with questions about large numbers of Irish prisoners who even Britain recognized as special category.

The British decided on a new strategy to label Irish political prisoners as criminals, and make them living symbols that Ireland ’s struggle for freedom was a criminal enterprise.

British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher ordered that from March 1, 1976 Irish Republicans must dress up as criminals. She would use them to label Ireland’s historic struggle for freedom as “800 years of crime.”

Those jailed for actions taking place on or before February 28, 1976 would still be recognized as special category prisoners, not wear a criminal uniform and instead, retain all of the conditions of political status.

Those engaging in the very same actions as part of the same struggle after that date, were to be branded as criminals. They must wear criminal uniforms and be confined in H-block cells, as living symbols that they were criminals not patriots.

Kieran Nugent became the first Republican prisoner handed a criminal uniform. He shouted back that his British jailers would have to nail it to his back in order to force him to wear it.

Hundreds of “blanketmen” would be held in Long Kesh. The British tried beatings, brutal searches, intimidation and loss of remission to make them accept criminal uniforms and criminal status.

A steadily escalating campaign to break them and Armagh women political prisoners was resisted by an escalating protest campaign by Republican prisoners.

Massive support for them was provided by Churchmen, politicians and human rights activists who recognized that these Republican prisoners would never have been inside a prison except for the struggle against British rule in the north.

All attempts at honorable resolution were rejected by Thatcher and the British, even a mediation by Cardinal O’Fiaich and a 53 day hunger strike in 1980 led by Brendan Hughes.

Ten Irish Republican patriots, Bobby Sands MP, Francis Hughes, Raymond McCreesh ,Patsy O’Hara, Joe McDonnell, Martin Hurson, Kevin Lynch, Kieran Doherty, Thomas McElwee and Michael Devine would ultimately give their lives on hunger strike rather than betray their struggle by bowing to Thatcher’s criminalization.

Thatcher was beaten albeit at a terrible price. The world recognized that criminals do not die such deaths for the freedom of their country.

We can be proud that America, including AOH members across the country, ,marched daily at British consulates, generated national publicity, and enlisted Congressmen to visit the north and were crucial part of their victory.

Now 39 years later we remember all of the Hunger Strike Martyrs, who locked away in a British prison, overcame everything in the arsenal of the British Empire to win a victory for Irish freedom.

Next year the 40th anniversary of their heroic sacrifice the AOH FFAI is planning a program of commemorative events, state and city resolutions, speaking tours and visit to the north to honor the Hunger Strikers and their unforgettable legacy.

FFAI VIDEOS
https://youtu.be/GETiU5ASOB0
Most of you have seen the video provided by Mark Thompson, thanking the AOH and LAOH for our donations to Relatives for Justice, and for our political and solidarity work. We had intended to video similar messages for you from the recipients of your Christmas Appeal grants. Being unable to travel to Ireland in March we asked Mark for a video message and as usual he exceeded all our expectations. At the suggestion of Danny O’Connell and with help from Lee Patterson, Sean Pender and the National FFAI Committee, we are trying to do a series of messages and updates for you.

MALACHY McALLISTER-MAY 28TH
Malachy McAllister still has a deadline to leave the United States on or before May 28th. FFAI has been working with Malachy, his legal representatives ,National VP Sean Pender and Immigration Chair Dan Dennehy. All of our National leaders are involved in Malachy’s fight to remain here.

FFAI MONTHLY BULLETIN

Please read and distribute the monthly FFAI Bulletin. The is now available on AOH national email blasts, or on the New York State and National AOH web sites. We want to give you monthly updates on key events in the north with short analysis and explanation.

Slan,

MARTIN GALVIN

Historical Happenings for May 2020

Historical Happenings ─ Margaret ‘Captain Molly’ Corbin
by Mike McCormack AOH NY State Historian

More than 200 guests gathered at the Captain Molly Memorial at West Point’s U.S. Military Academy on 1 May, 2018, for a re-dedication Ceremony. Recent developments revealed that Margaret Corbin was not in fact buried there as had been believed since 1926. After the grave was accidentally disturbed in 2016 by excavators building a wall nearby, the opportunity for forensic testing of the remains presented itself and the tests revealed the remains were of a middle-aged man who lived in the Colonial period. However, the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) who erected the memorial felt that she was too important to be forgotten. With National Military Cemeteries and the US Military Academy a decision was made to schedule a special re-dedication of the monument to Margaret’s valor and celebrate her legacy regardless of where she may be buried. But just who was Captain Molly?
She was born Margaret Cochran in November 1751 on the western PA frontier to Irish immigrant Robert Cochran and his wife Sarah. When just five years old, her father was killed in an Indian raid and her mother was kidnaped. Margaret escaped and was raised by an uncle. At 21, she married farmer John Corbin. When America’s Revolution began, John enlisted in the regiment that General ‘Light Horse’ Harry Lee called the ‘Line of Ireland’. As was common at the time, Margaret went with him, joining other women in cooking, washing and caring for the wounded; it was there her dominating personality won her the nickname ‘Captain Molly’. On 16 November 1776, while stationed at Fort Washington, NY, they were attacked by the Brits. John Corbin’s cannon crew was being decimated by enemy fire when John was killed. Margaret sprang into action and began loading and firing the cannon by herself until she was wounded by grapeshot which tore her shoulder, mangled her chest and lacerated her jaw. After the fort was captured, the wounded were ferried across the river to Fort Lee, then by wagon to Philadelphia.
Margaret never fully recovered from her wounds and was left without the use of her left arm for life which was a terrible blow for a such a previously dynamic Irish-American woman. She had no way to earn a living and even needed help bathing and dressing. In June, 1776 the Commonwealth of PA gave her $30.00 in recognition of her bravery, but that didn’t go far. Then in 1779, impressed with her service, Congress made an unprecedented decision; they granted her a pension of half a soldier’s monthly pay and clothing allowance; she even got a rum ration and some back pay. With this act, Congress made her the first woman to receive an American military pension. At war’s end she was transferred to the Corps of Invalids at West Point, where she helped, as best she could, with cooking and laundry. In Major Boynton’s History of West Point, she is described as ‘appearing with an artilleryman’s coat over her skirts, she was coarse, red-haired, wholly wanting in feminine charms and one of her biographers recorded that used swear words.’ She died in Highland Falls, NY on 16 Jan 1800, at the young age of 48. In 1909 a plaque was set to her memory in Fort Tryon Park near the Fort Washington battle site noting that she was ‘the first American woman to take a soldier’s part in the War for Liberty’ and the park entrance was named Margaret Corbin Circle. A large mural depicting her in the battle also decorates the lobby of nearby 720 Fort Washington Avenue.
In 1926, the 50th anniversary of American independence prompted a search for her forgotten burial site. An overgrown grave was discovered and a body exhumed and identified by the wounds she incurred and the DAR had her re-interred with full military honors in the West Point Cemetery and erected the memorial, making her the only Revolutionary War veteran so honored. Despite the recent discovery that she was not really in that grave, the DAR decided to rededicate the memorial to her memory since her story is so important. DAR President Ann Dillon noted: “it epitomizes the very reason our organization was founded”. At the ceremony, Jennifer Minus, New York State Officers Club President said: “It’s important to remember that Margaret Corbin’s life and actions are not folklore; she was an actual woman who lived, fought and was recognized by name in Congressional and War Department records. Military spouse and widow, wounded warrior, prisoner of war and disabled veteran, she remains an inspiration to all who serve.” Colonel Diane Ryan, on behalf of the Military Academy added: “She is not just a role model for female cadets, she is an example to all Americans of what women are capable of when put to the test. Let this monument serve as a reminder to us all.” Karen Durham-Aguilera, Executive Director of National Military Cemeteries, followed by saying: “her bravery and legacy as one of the first women to fire an artillery cannon in the defense of our nation, continues to transcend and inspire women in military service even today.”
This story was taken from the New York State 2021 calendar which will be available soon.

From the Desk NYS AOH President

Brothers,

Please keep Allegheny County AOH Past President Jerome Hart and his family in your prayers. Jerome recently passed after a long illness. While I was NYS Organizer, I had the pleasure of organizing Wellsville Division 1. Erie County AOH Division 1 Past President Jim O’Brien and I had the pleasure of participating in the Installation of the Division’s Inaugural Board. Jerome was the 1st President. He was the driving force behind the formation of Division 1 and remained President for some time afterwards. I recall seeing Jerome at the annual Buffalo Irish Festival and at multiple Wolf Tone concerts at the Buffalo Irish Center. R.I.P. Jerome Hart!

Tom Lambert,
President NYS Ancient Order of Hibernians

 

You may read his full obituary here:

https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/wellsvilledaily/obituary.aspx?n=jerome-joseph-hart&pid=196132088&fhid=27529

Saffron United Pipe Band Honors Medical Heroes

The Saffron United Pipe Band (SUPB) from Suffolk County’s Division 2 in Babylon had the honor of playing for the heroic doctors and nurses at Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip on Tuesday, May 5, 2020.  The band, led by Pipe Major John Henderson, is based in Babylon and was originally formed in 1962 by a small group of bagpipe music enthusiasts from around the area and within the Babylon AOH. SUPB grew to being a competition worthy band and nearing it’s 60th anniversary, it is one of the oldest pipe bands in the Tri-State area.  View/download a video of the band’s hospital performance.

Information, photo and video provided by Jerry Belmont.

Division 2 Babylon Brothers Provide Comfort Food To Hospital Workers

On Thursday April 16, 2020, Ancient Order of Hibernians, Division 2 Babylon Brothers sent 15 trays of Irish comfort food (shepherds pie) to Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip to the delight of the hardworking nurses, doctors and staff. The food was much appreciated by those who put themselves on the front line, day in and day out.  Pictured is President Jim Killen and Charities and Missions Chairman Tom Bennet.

 

Easter Blessings from NYS AOH President

On behalf of the entire NYS AOH Board, please accept these Easter Greetings.  As we celebrate this glorious Easter Sunday, may it also mark a new beginning for all of us as we hope for better days ahead. Thank you to all who are on the front lines in the battle against this horrible Covid-19 pandemic.  Stay safe and happy Easter to all!    

Tom Lambert 
President 
NYS AOH

AOH NYS Board Spring Meeting Notice

Brothers: 

    The attached Call to Virtual Meeting was sent via US Mail on 4/2/20 by our Worthy NYS Secretary, Tom O’Donnell to all State Board Officers, County Board Presidents and Division Presidents.  The virtual meeting will be held on 5/2/20.  Contact information will be forthcoming. We never rescheduled the State Board Meeting to 6/6/20, only the LAOH did that. If that date holds (uncertain at best in this pandemic environment), it did not appear that the hotels would have had sufficient rooms available for both the AOH and the LAOH. If anyone has additional questions, please feel free to contact me at 716-796-7687 or at Tomlambert12@aol.com.  Stay safe! 

Tom Lambert, 
President NYS AOH

To View the Attached Call to Meeting, Please CLICK HERE

 

Historical Happenings for April 2020

THEY WENT TO SPAIN

by Mike McCormack AOH Historian

Napoleon’s failed invasion of Russia in 1812 was a turning point in the Napoleonic Wars, leading to his abdication and restoration of the Bourbon monarchy. Russia then played a central role at the post-war Vienna Congress of 1814 as a leader of anti-revolutionary forces. This suited the Bourbon kings who once again ruled and allowed the formation of the French Communist Party (PCF). Then, in 1920, after the death of Lenin, his successor Josef Stalin established a new ideology for the Communist International. He called it Marxist-Leninism and redefined the theories of both Lenin and Marx to establish a new meaning to benefit establishing a global Communist world.  It reformed civil law, made marriage secular between social-and-legal equals, facilitated divorce, legalized abortion and voided the political power of the upper and middle class and  privately owned businesses. The Marxist–Leninist world view was totally atheist denying religion in the affairs of human society. The PCF as the French Section of the Communist International adopted the new ideology.  In 1921, they spread it to Spain where the Spanish Communist Party (PCE) was founded. The PCE was legalized by the Second Spanish Republic in April 1931 and  gained much support.  Soon the Republic began introducing the atheistic doctrines of the new Communist ideology. In May 1931, anti-clerical violence broke out all over Madrid and south-west Spain. The government’s slow response disillusioned the population and reinforced their view that the Republic was determined to persecute the Catholic church.  In December a new reformist, liberal democratic constitution was declared and included strong provisions to secularize the previously Catholic country by abolishing Catholic schools and charities; many committed Catholics strongly opposed.   Churches were closed down, unspeakable atrocities were committed against priests and nuns and sacred artifacts were destroyed or stolen.  Then in July 1936, a rebellion was led by General Francisco Franco which marked the beginning of the Spanish Civil War.

Due to  international politics at the time, some saw it as either a class struggle, a religious war, a struggle between dictatorship and  democracy or between fascism and anarchism. In reality it was the result a polarization of Spanish life and politics that had developed since the introduction of communism. On one side, the Nationalists were mostly Roman Catholics, ranking members of the military, middle-class landowners and businessmen. On the other side, the Republic was supported by urban workers, agricultural laborers and members of a newly educated lower class.

The war became notable for the passionate political division it inspired and for the many atrocities that occurred, on both sides. Organized purges occurred in Republican areas to eliminate suspected opposition and revenge killings took place in areas controlled by Franco’s Nationalists.  As the execution of thousands of priests and nuns took place, New York’s Archbishop Cardinal Hayes asked New Yorkers to cry for Spain.  The Church hailed Franco as a deliverer but never sanctioned violence in retribution for the atrocities against his followers.  While Stalin sent volunteers and weapons to the Republicans, many nations officially took a neutral stance.  That neutrality faced serious opposition from sympathizers in the U.S. and other European countries leading to International Brigades.  Thousands from all nations voluntarily went to Spain to aid in the fight on either side.

The new Irish Free State joined an International Committee for Non-Intervention and passed The Spanish Civil War (Non-Intervention) Act in 1937 making it a punishable offence to travel from Ireland to Spain for any who would volunteer to serve in Franco’s cause.  However, while the IRA sent 300 men to support the Republicans, former IRA General Eoin O’Duffy led 700 Irishmen to fight for Franco as a result of the violence being perpetrated against Catholics and clergy.  By the end of the war, more than 6,000 Irish had volunteered in the Christian cause creating unofficial Irish involvement in the Spanish Civil War on both sides.  County Councils passed resolutions of support for Franco and requiem Masses were said for the fallen showing the support of the Irish people for the cause of Spain’s persecuted Catholics though today’s Irish government will not recognize that. Of 500,000 deaths in the War, 200,000 were combat-related: 110,000 Republicans and 90,000 of Franco’s Nationalists, the rest were civilians, but the destruction of a world-famous library’s priceless manuscript collection is lamented by historians to this day.  Another Irish Free State legislation, the Merchant Shipping Act of 1937 restricting Irish shipping to Spain was finally repealed on 27 April 1939 after Franco’s forces defeated the Republicans.  Franco set up a military government under which the PCE was repressed with specific laws banning Communists.  General Franco ruled anti-communist Spain until his death in November 1975 and was always grateful to the Irish who followed O’Duffy and were proud to claim, “We went to Spain!” which had a special meaning in the 1940s; it wasn’t just for a holiday!  The Irish volunteers who were ready to fight Communism in Spain were convinced that the cause of Franco was the cause of their Church and rose to its defense; every Hibernian should be able to relate to that.