Irish 2000 Festival

For two days in mid-September, the Saratoga County Fairgrounds in Ballston Spa, NY is home to all things Irish as the 16th Annual Irish 2000 Music & Arts Festival takes place.

The festival, ranked one of the top five of its kind in the United States, kicks off with  non-stop music from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.  Friday, September 14. On Saturday, the festival gates open at 10 a.m. and performances continue until 11 p.m. with some of the best Celtic entertainment in the world.

“Irish 2000 has become a tradition — a grand celebration of midway to St. Patrick’s Day. Each year we welcome about 15,000 people to the Fairground’s for two days filled with music, dance and so much more,” said Festival Executive Director Matt Nelligan.

ABOUT THE ORGANIZERS

The not-for-profit Irish Music and Arts Festival, Inc. organizes the annual festival.  The goal of the organization is, “To preserve, protect and promote Irish history and culture in the 21st century.”

In addition to producing the festival, Irish 2000 also supports other non-profit organizations. Since its inception, the festival has donated more than $350,000 to a variety of charities.

President’s Message

The spring NYS Board Meeting is behind us. I would like to thank Fr. Henry Reid for saying the Mass and Peter Durkee for his work setting up the weekend.

By now, I hope everyone has their National Convention Delegates lined up, rooms re-served and packages purchased. I look forward to a FULL delegation. Anyone who would like to assist with the hospitality room should see Jim Burke at the Turning Stone.

All County and Division Presidents should have received a letter and flier from AOH/NYS Pro-Life Chairman, Matt Nelligan, and myself. Any donation you can make to Camp Esther would be greatly appreciated.

In closing, I would like to thank the New York State Board for giving me their unanimous endorsement for the office of AOH National Director.

President’s Message December 2011

I will start this report with a thank you to our AOH/NYS Chaplain, Fr. Henry Reid, for celebrating our AOH/NYS Pro-Life Mass. Thank you to AOH/NYS Pro-Life Chairman Matt Nelligan for coordinating the Mass. I would also like to thank Owen Cole and our Schenectady sister and brother Hibernians for hosting our Mass, State Board Meetings and the mixed doubles bowling.

At our Board Meeting the following were unanimously endorsed for National Office: Brendan Moore – President, Judge James McKay – Vice-President, Tom McNabb – Secretary and Charles “Chip” McLean – Director.

I hope everyone is starting to make their plans to attend the National Convention at the Turning Stone in Verona, NY July 9- 13, 2012. I am expecting our State to have a FULL Delegation in attendance.

On November 5, the contract was signed with the Holiday Inn in Saratoga for our 2013 State Convention. Also on that day the final checks and paperwork from the 2011 Convention in Rockland were received. A final report should be completed by the time this edition of the ESH goes to print.

Our next State Board Meeting will be May 5, 2012 in East Durham. This will be preceded on Friday, May 4 with the James F. Hayes Golf Classic. This golf tournament is the main fundraiser for the Austin V. Carew Scholarship Fund. If you have never golfed in this, you are missing a fun filled day. The weekend will conclude with our annual pilgrimage to Our Lady of Knock Shrine for Mass. AOH/NYS Catholic Action Chairman, Peter Durkee, has informed me he is already working on the weekend.

Leadership Seminar

Pictured (L-R) Tom Beirne, Dan Dennehy, Matt Nelligan, Brian Kelly, Aidan O'Kelly-Lynch

An AOH Leadership Seminar was held Saturday, November 13 at the new Hibernian Hall at the Hudson Valley Irish Center in Verplanck, NY.  A panel including Matt Nelligan, 2012 National Convention Chairman and Past NYS President, Tom Beirne, NY County President, Brian Kelly, Westchester County, and Dan Dennehy, National Immigration Chairman. Over fifty Hibernians from New Jersey, Connecticut and Ohio, as well as members from across NY State joined the members from the Metropolitan area in participating in this remarkable forum. Brendan Moore, National Vice President, along with National Directors Jere Cole & Danny O’Connell, Sean Pender, National FFAI, Joe McDonald, Digital Hibernian Digest and Ed Rice, NY State Organizer provided their observations and expertise to the forum. New acquaintances were made and information shared to benefit the good of the Order.

Brendan Moore congratulated Brothers Dan Dennehy, Matt Nelligan, Tom Beirne, and Brian Kelly for their efforts in structuring and presenting this seminar. “They achieved and surpassed all of their objectives. Their Leadership Seminar should be further developed and repeated throughout the AOH.”

The seminar focused on the following topics:

  • AOH Officer & Member
  • Roles, responsibilities & duties
  • AOH Halls
  • Meetings and Ceremonies
  • Layout and Decorum
  • Our Constitution & Bylaws
  • Robert’s Rules of Order:
  • For the Good of Our Order
  • Recruitment & Retention
  • Brothers for Life

Matt Nelligan thanked Brother Dennehy for putting the seminar together stating, “In order to make sure that our Order continues to grow and thrive we need to constantly prepare our members for leadership roles. This Seminar provided a format for Local, State and National Officers in our organization to educate our future leaders on the rules, regulations and protocols that they need to be familiar with.”

“The goal of the seminar was to familiarize newer Hibernians with our leadership and organization, to provide a better understanding of our Order and to encourage recruitment and retention by sharing successful efforts and methods.” stated Dan Dennehy.  He added “I believe that the seminar achieved greater than anticipated success, highlighted aspects of our Order that further focused on and that the social aspect of the day definitely benefited all those in attendance.”

Food and refreshment were provided by President Aidan O’Kelly Lynch, Div 18 and the officers and members of the host Division – Westchester County Division 18, Peekskill. Visiting Hibernians admired the hall, which boasted relics from the Division including a poster from an 1898 boat ride sponsored by the local AOH. Those early Hibernians, many of whom were Irish immigrants, built the building and inscribed their names in the bricks outside on July 4, 1876.

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Letter from United States Senator Ben Nelson

The article ‘Politics Trumps Principle’ which was carried on the front page of our last edition was submitted by Pro-Life Chairman Matt Nelligan. Senator Nelson, who was mentioned therein was kind enough to provide an addendum to the article for the record. In response to the article, Senator Nelson wrote:

“I was both surprised and disappointed to read the article “Politics Trumps Principle” on the cover of the National Hibernian Digest for the months of January and February 2010.  I am writing to clarify what is a misunderstanding regarding my efforts to support life in the Senate health care bill.

The article correctly points out that I offered the Nelson, Hatch, Casey, et al amendment, which was tabled by a vote of 54-45.  During discussions with leadership, I then offered an alternative to protect against using federal funds to pay for elective abortions.  The writer is mistaken in criticizing this language as not protecting life.

A legal opinion from one of Nebraska’s most respected law firms concluded that my language prohibits the use of federal funds to pay for abortions, provides that plans are not required to offer abortion coverage, permits all states to prohibit abortion coverage in their respective jurisdictions, and preserves existing federal law with respect to conscience protection.

Any disagreement about the intent or effect of this language seems to me to be about preferred wording, rather than substantive effect.  Thus, the question as to whether this language bars federal funds from paying for elective abortions has been conclusively answered by this legal opinion.  It does.  Principle trumps politics.

To question my pro-life commitment is inexcusable.  I was a pro-life adoptive parent twenty years before I entered politics.  As Nebraska’s governor in 1991, I helped the legislature pass pro-life legislation for waiting periods and parental consent.  My pro-life voting record for two terms in the United States Senate is unquestioned.  Armchair quarterbacking aside, I have never sacrificed this or any of these principles for political purposes.

The suggestion that I extracted an unfair Medicaid promise for my state is equally untrue.  I pointed out an unfunded mandate to be borne by all the states in 2017 and suggested that it be fixed.  Whatever my state is to get should be extended to all states as well.  Incidentally, I was asked by the Nebraska Governor to pursue this unfunded mandate since it would result in an undue hardship on our state’s fiscal capacity.  It was my decision to seek relief not only for Nebraska but for all states as well.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to respond to this mistaken attack on my character.

Erin go bragh, United States Senator Ben Nelson”

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