Freedom For All Ireland Report – May 2019

by Martin Galvin
NYAOH FFAI Chair

A chairde:

FFAI ISSUES UPDATE

A- Six month deportation reprieve for Malachy McAllister-Less than 48 hours before his scheduled deportation, Senators and Congressmen supporting Malachy McAllister  were told that Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan would grant a six month stay. Belfast born Hibernian and key member of the AOH National FFAI Committee, Malachy McAllister was scheduled to be deported on April 30th, after 23 years, in America. He was ordered deported because he had been jailed as a Republican political prisoner for his alleged role in an attack on the Royal Ulster Constabulary. The reprieve, achieved after intense campaigning led by National President Jim McKay and Treasurer Sean Pender, will end in six months without legalization before the deadline. Malachy McAllister had fled to America after a British agent led loyalist attack on his home. He became, as Senator Chuck Schumer described, “a valued member of the Irish American community who has done nothing but productive things since seeking asylum following an assassination attempt on him and his family.”

Because he arrived in America after the original list of Irish political deportee cases, he was omitted from the cases settled by Clinton’s Attorney General Janet Reno in 1997.Ironically the immigration judge who denied McAllister’s claim for asylum in 2000,was current President Trump’s sister Maryanne Trump Barry. She implored the Attorney General to use his discretion to allow the McAllister family to stay in America. McAllister has had his deportation stayed multiple times in response to  Senate and Congressional bills. Senator Lindsay Graham as head of the Judiciary Committee  made a request for Malachy to be granted a six month stay but DHS refused. This refusal was followed by Congressional and Senate campaigning for Malachy, helped by the Irish government and Cardinal Dolan. Senators Schumer and Menendez, along  with Congressmen Engel, Pascrell, King, Smith and Neal were in the forefront of a bipartisan effort. McAllister had to submit an airplane ticket to Ireland to DHS on April 15th and was making final preparations for his family when Senators and Congressmen were notified that McAleenan would give the six month stay. This is a temporary reprieve not a permanent solution. AOH Immigration and FFAI are working with other Irish American groups get a permanent legal status for Malachy. A possibility, suggested by AOH Immigration Chair Dan Dennehy would be a “TRIG Exemption,” exempting the actions for which Malachy was imprisoned from barring him from staying in America. His acts were part of a conflict that ended more than 21 years ago. Terrorism Related Inadmissibility Grounds (TRIG) can be exempted for the Irish conflict by the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security in consultation with the Attorney General. 

BNew Stormont Talks follow tragic Derry death-British Prime Minister Theresa May and Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadker made a joint statement setting up new talks to restart the Stormont Assembly, dormant since January 9,2017. The announcement came after both heads of government attended the funeral of respected young journalist Lyra McKee, along with many Irish party leaders. Ms. McKee had been tragically killed in Derry by members of the New IRA ,who had fired at the PSNI constabulary during rioting. Her death inspired an outpouring of grief and anger and an emotional appeal at her funeral by Fr. Martin Magill. Stormont collapsed after the late Martin McGuinness resigned over the refusal of First Minister Arlene Foster to stand aside during an inquiry into the Renewable Heat Initiative scandal. Last year an apparent DUP-Sinn Fein agreement collapsed on Valentine’s Day 2018,when the DUP reneged on a compromise proposal allowing an Irish language Act along lines of similar measures in Scotland and Wales. Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney held a follow-up press conference with British Secretary Karen Bradley. Some of the difficulties with talks immediately surfaced. DUP MP Ian Paisley Jr. demanded that Dublin should “butt-out” if they want to see talks succeed while members of the Ulster Unionist Party complained that “Dublin seem to be getting more information than we are.”      

C-May gets Halloween extension to avoid “no deal” Brexit- The European Union granted Britain’s plea for more time before  its exit from the European Union. Brexit, set for March 29th was given a new deadline of October 31st. The postponement allows Britain six additional months to avoid a “no deal” Brexit, without any trade or customs agreements. May was forced to ask the EU for a more time after Westminster voted down her 599 page Withdrawal Agreement with the EU. The EU is not expected to redo this agreement, reached only after lengthy negotiations. She requested a longer postponement but the EU granted 6 months.  May is now in talks with the opposition Labour Party to get votes for her Withdrawal Agreement. “Brexiting” after May 22nd will require  Britain to elect candidates to the European Parliament. Britain could also cancel Brexit by revoking their Article 50 withdrawal notice. May faces continued calls to step down. Brexit threatens economic disaster for Ireland. The Withdrawal Agreement, included a “backstop” to avoid a disastrous hard border across Ireland. Brexiteers within Prime Minister Theresa May’s Tory Party, joined with the DUP, to oppose the “backstop” or safety net that would have only begun if a full trade agreement was not reached by the end of 2020.

D-Threat to bring Britain to a standstill over trooper charges- With as many as 200 former British Army troopers and Royal Ulster Constabulary members now under investigation for Troubles’ murders, former troopers are now threatening to bring Britain and the north to a standstill unless Westminster gives them an amnesty. The threats were made at a rally outside Belfast City Hall, called in support of the single British paratrooper charged for the Bloody Sunday murders. The rally was attended two DUP MPs Jeffrey Donaldson and Gavin Robinson. Donaldson called investigations of British troopers a “witch hunt”. Meanwhile Tory back-benchers are now preparing a bill for an amnesty in the form of a statute of limitations to include Troubles killings in the north along with killings in Iraq and Afghanistan. At the same time the mother of a Derry child shot dead by the RUC with a plastic bullet in 1981, has been told that the file on her 15 year old son will be sealed until 2059. Helen Whitters appealed to British Secretary Bradley to open her son Paul Whitters’ file now saying that “I will not be alive and no one who actually knew Paul will be alive” in 2059. Also the Ballymurphy Massacre Inquest heard testimony from a trooper who had married a woman from Ballymurphy and was in the area on leave. He said British troopers made up “ghost gunmen” to justify opening fire. He had been threatened by a British Army Captain, called a traitor and assaulted at his home by members of the Parachute Regiment to silence him. The inquest continues.

MARK THOMPSON-MARK McGOVERN BOOK LAUNCH TOUR

Mark Thompson and Professor Mark McGovern are launching a new book COLLUSION- COUNTERINSURGENCY in NORTHERN IRELAND in May   and are planning to do an American launch from June 1st to June 10th. This groundbreaking book will put the lie to the claim that Britain forces were responsible for only about only 10% of the north’s killings and expose how they armed, directed, paid and protected their loyalist agents to carry out hundreds of  killings then denied any blame.  They have asked AOH help to plan and organize this tour.

I have a personal interest in the book because my close friend Liam Ryan, who lived near me in the Bronx and was murdered at the Battery Bar in Ardboe, (a site visited during the FFAI tour) is one of the cases of collusion included in the book.

I am asking for your ideas and help to set up the most effective schedule for them including book launch venues-political support-colleges-embassy receptions etc along with events where we can bring in people and help defer expenses. 

FFAI TOUR-CHRISTMAS APPEAL RECIPIENTS

The following groups received donations from your contributions to the Christmas Appeal. These groups and amounts were based on written applications and recommendations from the National FFAI Committee with final determination 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.

  1. Relatives for Justice-supports the relatives of those killed or injured in the conflict-fights for legacy justice-provides counseling and support services with offices in Belfast and Dungannon-involved with campaigns like Ballymurphy inquest-, headed by Mark Thompson, and Carmel Quinn is one of the trustees.
  2. Pat Finucane Centre-Human Rights Advocacy group-based in Derry named after slain civil rights lawyer Pat Finucane – headed by Paul O’Connor, and connected to campaigns like Bloody Sunday.
  3. Holy Cross Ardoyne-headed by Fr. Gary Donegan, is actually the Houben Centre dedicated to peace with justice in the sectarian flashpoint of Ardoyne.
  4. EALU-(means Escape in Irish)is a center for Republican ex-political prisoners located in Dungannon, East Tyrone, we visited their offices and they provide an array of services including job training ,counseling for ex-prisoners and families, legacy issues, education classes in Irish culture, language and history.
  5. Greater New Lodge Commemoration Committee-maintains a memorial garden and commemorations for IRA Volunteers and Republicans who were killed by the British in the New Lodge area of Belfast.
  6. Conway Mill Trust-located in Pittsburgh funds 8 community based organizations in the north including one in the Garvaghy Road, four in Belfast and three in Derry.
  7. Tyrone AOH– foster Irish history ,culture, language and issues  in an area of Tyrone where all things Irish were suppressed-they hold a special memorial for a local Hibernian killed in 1916,campaign against the environmental destruction of the Mass Rock and Sperrins area and also assist on legacy issues and other issues.
  8. Cairde Strabane-serves Republican ex-political prisoners in West Tyrone which provides job training, education, counseling, and a historical museum.
  9. St. Patrick Centre-cross community charity and exhibition, and cultural centre about St. Patrick in Downpatrick.
  10. Duchas Oiriall-South Armagh organization promoting and studying the unique culture and history of South Armagh.
  11. Bridges beyond Boxing-cross-community boxing club based in Belfast.
  12. Down Patriot Graves-maintains graves,organizes commemorations and promotes history of Irish patriots in South Down.
  13. Green Cross-provides money and help to the families who lost loved ones during the conflict.
  14. Belfast National Graves-to commemorate and maintain the graves of those who gave their lives for Irish freedom.
  15. Omagh Basketball-cross-community basketball team in Omagh.
  16. Omagh Choir-cross-community choir.

These donations were presented during the tour which meant that a number of AOH and LAOH members handed out checks and showed that these contributions represent funds raised by a national organization. The reception we received is a credit to each member of the AOH-LAOH who works on FFAI or contributed to the Christmas Appeal. Your work matters and is deeply appreciated!  

FFAI MONTHLY BULLETIN

 Please check for the monthly FFAI Bulletin 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
MGALVINESQ@AOL.COM

Mark Thompson Speaks on Behalf of Relatives for Justice

January 10-15th, 2018 – Mark Thompson ended a near week long emergency American tour which generated a new Congressional initiative, five public events and formal proclamations of support by the New York State Senate, Assembly and local governments. Sponsored by the New York State Board Ancient Order of Hibernians, the tour brought together other Irish American organizations, and commitments to help Relatives for Justice (RFJ) and the victims they represent break the deadlock on legacy truth. View some of week’s event photo album.

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

Freedom For All Ireland Christmas Appeal

The NYS AOH Freedom For All Ireland Christmas Appeal fundraiser will be held at Wolfe Tone’s Irish Pub and Kitchen on January 4, 2017 starting at 6 pm. The suggested donation for the night is $25. There will be raffles to aid in raising more funds. This year’s fund will be directed to Relatives for Justice and the Pat Finucane Center.

christmas-appeal-fundraiser-2017-1

If you cannot make the event but would still like to make a donation, please send it to me direct at the address listed below. Also if you would like to donate an item for the raffle, please contact me direct so we can arrange pickup.

Ciaran Geraghty
NYS AOH FFAI Chair
244 South Main Ave
Albany, NY 12208
518-322-5228

FFAI Christmas Appeal Fundraiser to be held in NYC

Christmas Appeal Fundraiser - Red Border

The New York State Freedom for All Ireland Committee will be hosting a fundraiser to benefit the National AOH FFAI Christmas Appeal on Wednesday February 10, 2016.  The event will take place at Wolfe Tone’s Irish Pub & Kitchen located at 37 East 29th Street in Manhattan.  The cost is $25.00 per person.  Please contact our NYS FFAI Chairman Ciaran Geraghty.  His contact info is listed on the flyer.

Proceeds go to benefit The AOH National FFAI Christmas Appeal, which provides donations to several worthy charities located in the North of Ireland.  Please see below for a list of past recipients as well as a criteria statement for groups wishing to benefit from The Christmas Appeal.

Criteria for Financial Support

Groups requesting financial support from the FFAI Christmas Appeal must promote those programs that encourage cross community cooperation, economic development, social change, cross border collaboration, Irish history and language education, nationalist infrastructure maintenance and construction efforts, and Irish unification initiatives based on peace and justice for all throughout all of Ireland.

Groups that have received FFAI Christmas Appeal support in 2014

Cairde Strabane Republican Ex-prisoners Group:  A self-help initiative by the republican prisoners from the Strabane area, to assist with the needs of prisoners and their families as a result of the political conflict in Ireland.

Conway Mill Trust: Located in Pittsburgh, PA, Conway Mill is an Irish-American cross-community organization working for economic, community, social and cultural development in Northern Ireland.

Cuímhneamh An Chláir: This group (supported by the donations of a LAOH Division) digitally records, archives and shares the memories, folklore, traditions and oral history of county Clare.

Holy Cross Ardoyne Trust in North Belfast: This group works for the creation of a cross community Family Centre on Crumlin Road. Support enables the group to continue the essential cross-community work and concentrate their efforts on reconciliation and the improvement of community relations within North Belfast through the Family Centre Development project.

Mary’s Gift (www.marysgift.org): This foundation is a US-based charitable endowment fund providing support to Irish-Immersion schools in the Six Counties. Donations are distributed to preschool, primary and post-primary schools where all subjects are taught in the Irish language.

National Graves Association, Belfast: Support for the upkeep of Belfast republican graves and memorial.

Omagh Community Youth Choir: Endeavors to bringing young people from both communities together through music.

Omagh Thunder Basketball Club (www.omaghthunder.com): Their goal is to bring children from all sides of the community and teach them to work together, using basketball as a tool.

Pat Finucane Centre in Derry (www.patfinucanecentre.org): The group is dedicated to research and documenting individual cases of conflict related to loss of life following a specific request from a relative, and finding innovative alternatives for families seeking redress. Their mission is to defend Human Rights and support Social Change.

Relatives For Justice in Belfast and Dungannon (www.relativesforjustice.com): Their aim is to provide appropriate support for the victims of State violence and collusion within a safe environment. They engage the courts, request investigation, create awareness and provide information. They lobby the Congress and Senate with AOH partnership support.

Tar Anall in Belfast (www.Taranall.ie): Tar Arnall offers support services required to empower and provide opportunities for Republican ex-prisoners and their families, who have been adversely affected by the conflict in Ireland. They provide training and education services, welfare support, and job skills development. They promote an ethos of self-help, personal achievement and self-empowerment.

Freedom For All Ireland Christmas Appeal Fundraiser

The AOH New York State Board will host a fundraiser for The Freedom for All Ireland Christmas Appeal on Thursday, December 4, 2014 from 6:30pm – 9:30pm.  The event will be held at O’Rielly’s Bar and Kitchen, 21 West 35th Street in Manhattan.

There is a $20.00 suggested donation.  The event will feature entertainment, food cash bar and raffles. 

All proceeds will go to the AOH FFAI Christmas Appeal, which benefits community and charity organizations in The North of Ireland.

Groups requesting financial support from the FFAI Christmas Appeal must promote those programs that encourage cross community cooperation, economic development, social change, cross border collaboration, Irish history and language education, nationalist infrastructure maintenance and construction efforts, and Irish unification initiatives based on peace and justice for all throughout all of Ireland.

For more information, please contact AOH New York State FFAI Chairman Tim Myles: (516) 660-7456 or timtam614@aol.com

Groups that have received FFAI Christmas Appeal support

Belfast National Graves: Support for the upkeep of Belfast republican graves and memorial.

Cairde: A self-help initiative by the republican prisoners from the Strabane area, to assist with the needs of prisoners and their families as a result of the political conflict in Ireland.

Cuimhneamh: A “living history” project initially funded by Newry & Mourne Local Strategy Partnership. Its aim is to compile an extensive and ongoing archive of people’s memories and experiences from the early 20th century to the present day for the South Armagh and North Louth areas.

Green Cross, AnCuman Cubrach (Belfast): Provides material assistance to the families of people bereaved in the Troubles and to assist in the alleviation of hardship within the community.

Mary’s Gift (www.marysgift.org): This foundation is a US-based charitable endowment fund providing support to Irish-Immersion schools in the Six Counties. Donations are distributed to preschool, primary and post-primary schools where all subjects are taught in the Irish language.

Omagh Basketball Team (www.omaghthunder.com): Their goal is to bring children from all sides of the community and teach them to work together, using basketball as a tool.

Pat Finucane Centre in Derry and Newry (www.patfinucanecentre.org): The group is dedicated to research and documenting individual cases of conflict related to loss of life following a specific request from a relative, and finding innovative alternatives for families seeking redress. This is to counterbalance when there is an inability of the criminal justice system to provide for justice.

Relatives For Justice in Belfast and Dungannon (www.relativesforjustice.com): Their aim is to provide appropriate support for the victims of State violence and collusion within a safe environment. They engage the courts, request investigation, create awareness and provide information. They lobby the Congress and Senate with AOH partnership support.

Saint Patrick Centre (www.saintpatrickcentre.com): Located beside Saint Patrick’s Grave in Downpatrick, County Down, the Saint Patrick Centre is the only permanent exhibition in the World dedicated to the memory of the Patron Saint of Ireland. It is a centre for Tourism, reconciliation and is dedicated to all the people of Ireland. It helps to boost local tourism economy in an area hard hit by the troubles, thereby helping to bring normality and stability to the Mid Down area.

Tar Anall in Belfast (www.Taranall.ie): Tar Arnall offers support services required to empower and provide opportunities for Republican ex-prisoners and their families, who have been adversely affected by the conflict in Ireland. They provide training and education services, welfare support, and job skills development. They promote an ethos of self-help, personal achievement and self-empowerment.

Thar Saile: An Irish-American organization dedicated to working for the rights of former Irish Political POWs in the United States. Their mission is to achieve a permanent solution to the immigration issues (including deportation and extradition from the U.S.) facing former Irish Republican Political Prisoners residing within the United States.

Holy Cross Ardoyne Trust in North Belfast: This group worked for the creation of a cross community Family Centre on Crumlin Road. Support enables the group to continue the essential cross-community work and concentrate their efforts on reconciliation and the improvement of community relations within North Belfast through the Family Centre Development project.

Coiste na n-larchimí in the Six Counties (www.coiste.ie): Coiste is the representative group supporting former IRA ex-prisoners and assisting them in building a just peace in Ireland. They lobby and advocate on their behalf. They provide services such as welfare advice, family support, training for employment, emotional support and counseling. They are also involved in peace building and dialogue activity, establishing projects aimed at deepening respect between former combatant groups, and building understanding of the political institutions.