Albany Honors Martin Galvin

National AOH Freedom for All Ireland (FFAI) Chairman Martin Galvin was honored with the Fr. John Murphy award bestowed by the Albany AOH and LAOH. Carmel Quinn, sister of Ballymurphy victim John Laverty delivered the keynote address on behalf of Relatives for Justice, a Belfast-based organization working to shed light on the Ballymurphy Massacre. The annual FFAI event was held on Friday, November 16, 2018 in the Albany Hibernian Hall.

Freedom For All Ireland (FFAI) is a National AOH/LAOH initiative that promotes One Island, One Ireland with peace, justice and equality for all. All proceeds raised by this event and others held across the nation are donated to over a dozen worthy charities/causes throughout the North of Ireland.

(Photos and report provided by Tim McSweeney, AOH National Organizer)

(l-r) Sean Pender, AOH National Treasurer, Albany LAOH FFAI Delores Desch, Martin Galvin, National/State FFAI Chair and Albany AOH FFAI John Levondowski

Carmel Quinn, sister of Ballymurphy victim John Laverty delivered the keynote address on behalf of Relatives for Justice

National, State, County and Division Officers of the AOH/LAOH gather to honor Martin Galvin

Freedom For All Ireland Report – October 2018

by Martin Galvin
NYAOH FFAI Chair

A chairde:

               FFAI ISSUES UPDATE

A – Bradley admits sent to rule with no clue about north – Karen Bradley, picked by Prime Minister Theresa May to administer British rule in the six counties, said she had no understanding of the north when picked for the post. Bradley made her frank  admissions to House magazine, a weekly parliamentary magazine giving Westminster MPs puff piece interviews. Bradley confessed she had did not understand basic facts of the north’s politics, elections and deep-rooted issues saying it was all “a very different world from the world I come from.” She said:

“I didn’t understand things like when elections are fought in Northern Ireland people who are nationalists don’t vote for unionist parties and vice-versa… Unionist parties fight the elections in unionist communities and nationalists in nationalist communities… I was slightly scared of Northern Ireland because of my impression and images from 20 years ago…

I freely admit that when I started this job, I didn’t understand some of the deep-seated and deep-rooted issues.”

Bradley age 48, never visited the six counties until going to preside as British Secretary. Elected to Westminster in 2010, she learned little from debates, discussions of new laws, or party briefings and conferences in eight years. Like most British secretaries, she apparently views the north as a place to audition for some other post she would rather have in some other place she would rather be.

Bradley will judge the Legacy Consultation. Having admitted  she had no understanding how elections are fought in the north,  she seems to have no understanding of how British troops fought there by shooting down civilians in places like Ballymurphy.

B – No deal Brexit and hard border disaster threatened –Due to exit the European Union on March 29,2019, Britain has offered no acceptable deal with the EU to avoid a disastrous hard border across Ireland. The biggest obstacle is Theresa May’s dependence on 10 DUP votes at Westminster. The Irish, British and EU want to avoid a hard border across the island. Without a deal, the six counties becomes an external EU border, requiring customs, immigration and tariff controls. There are 300 border crossings.  The EU and Ireland have offered to permit the north to remain in the EU customs union. Customs, immigration controls etc could then begin in the Irish sea, meaning at entry points into England, Scotland or Wales. This would be beneficial for the north. However the DUP fears preferential regulations for the north as a slippery slope towards a united Ireland. They say they will topple Theresa May and veto any deal in which they are not exactly the same as England, Scotland and Wales. The EU will not offer permanent customs union preferences to Britain. Theresa May is now caught with Tory hardliners, led by Boris Johnson, calling for a hard Brexit and the DUP’s “blood red lines” against preferential arrangements for the north. French President Emmanuel Macron summed up the EU’s reaction to May’s latest proposals saying “Brexit is the choice of the British people, pushed by those who predicted easy solutions… Those people are liars.”    

– AOH Leaders meet Ballymurphy Massacre Campaign Families

Saying they came “to pledge American support for Ballymurphy in its battle for truth and justice,” National AOH Vice-President Danny O’Connell, and National Secretary Jere Cole met Ballymurphy Massacre families on Sunday September 23rd. The AOH leaders were escorted by family members to the murder scenes and given a moving account of each killing. The fact-finding visit was also attended by Relatives for Justice. Danny O’Connell said:

“Both Jerry Cole and I have visited Ballymurphy before and were familiar with the events, but hearing the deep pain in the voices of family members as they spoke of the murders of their loved ones, while standing in the spots where these murders were committed, was deeply moving. Eleven innocent people including a priest and mother of 8 were murdered. Their families are entitled to truth about the killings of their loved ones”.

D – “Hooded Men” court fight on torture-The “Hooded Men” vowed to win their legal fight to brand Britain guilty of torture in British Courts, even as the European Court of Human Rights declined to review its 1978 judgment holding Britain guilty of inhuman and degrading treatment. The torture case goes back to August 9,1971,and the start of Internment. Men picked up without charge were used as human guinea pigs and subjected to sensory deprivation torture techniques. They were hooded, made to stand in strained positions for hours, deprived of sleep, water and food, alternated with beatings and threats. Some were made to run gauntlets etc. Ireland took a case on their behalf. The European Commission ruled that the British were guilty of torture. The European Court modified the finding to guilty of inhuman and degrading treatment. English tabloids ran headlines “Britain Not Guilty!” omitting that they had been convicted of inhuman treatment.RTE Irish television in June 2014, did a program ‘The Torture Files’ which uncovered proof Britain lied to the European Court and withheld files that Britain approved the torture techniques at the highest level of government. Ireland attempted to have the torture ruling reinstated based on this evidence but the European judges said it was too late. The men are already pursuing a separate legal case in the Belfast High Court and have won legal rulings that Britain subjected them to torture. That case is expected to end with Britain in the dock of its own Supreme Court in London.    

BALLYMUPHY MASSACRE TOUR CALL TO ACTION

Carmel Quinn, whose brother John Laverty was a Ballymurphy Massacre victim, is coming to America to the AOH. She will speak on Sunday November 11th at a Philadelphia FFAI event organized by Gerry McHale, and Pearse Kerr; Monday in New Jersey organized by Sean Pender and Malachy McAllister; Babylon AOH Hall on Tuesday; going to Washington DC on the 14th-15th with event by Jim McLaughlin returning Thursday night 15th for event at O’Lunneys in Manhattan; Friday in Albany organized by John Levendosky and Dolores Desch. National VP Danny O’Connell will bring Carmel Quinn to Cleveland Ohio on Saturday before she is honored Sunday in the Bronx together with Congressman Joe Crowley and ECHO Editor Ray O’Hanlon. More events may be announced.

 CONGRESSIONAL CALL TO ACTION

Last April sixteen Members of Congress joined a  breakthrough bipartisan letter sponsored by the AOH to the British Ambassador about legacy truth.

Both the British Ambassador and colonial British Secretary Karen Bradley had to reply. FFAI is calling upon AOH members across the country to contact your local Senators and Congressmen, and ask will they make time to hear Carmel Quinn in Washington D.C. on November 14th or 15th. 

CHRISTMAS APPEAL

The Christmas Appeal mailing will arrive shortly. The need is obvious. Today Britain still denies truth and justice to the families of victims murdered by the crown or loyalist agents in places like Ballymurphy. Brexit threatens catastrophe .They even refuse an Irish Language Act. Instead of opening the door to national freedom, Britain and the DUP want to nail that door shut. America can make a difference, but only if the AOH and LAOH, as the  voice of the Irish in America, lead the way. Our donations to carefully chosen charities through monies raised by the FFAI Annual Christmas Appeal, alongside our political and educational campaigns, are a cornerstone of our FFAI initiative.

This year our National Officers have begun new FFAI education and information programs about British injustices in the six counties. They are implementing many of your ideas to enhance the Appeal. Our National Officers are asking for a commitment from everyone to participate and support FFAI with a donation or fundraising event. Please donate and help the AOH and LAOH make the difference.  Help make Freedom for all Ireland, not an aspiration or endeavor but the reality for those Irish people still denied it!

FFAI MONTHLY BULLETIN

The monthly FFAI Bulletin is now available on the New York State and National AOH web site by clicking Reports and FFAI. We want to give you monthly updates on key events in the north with short analysis and explanation.

REMEMBERING IRISH PATRIOTS WITH PRIDE

Ruan O’Donnell, of Limerick University gave the Hibernian Lecture at Notre Dame: “America and the Irish Revolution 1916-22”.Professor O’Donnell says that our work for FFAI is part of a long history  and without America no part of Ireland would be free! You can see this great Hibernian Lecture by going to the National AOH web site and clicking on it.

Please contact me at MGALVINESQ@AOL.COM.                              

Slan
Martin Galvin

Tyrone AOH Honors NY Clarke Memorial

County Tyrone Ancient Order of Hibernians at a special ceremony in Dungannon, honored New York State and Suffolk County AOH, for its Thomas Clarke-Kathleen Daly Clarke Memorial in Manorville. Tyrone County President Gerry McGeough presented plaques to New York State Secretary John Manning and Freedom for all Ireland Chairman Martin Galvin, in Thomas Clarke’s home town of Dungannon, on May 29th, in an event co-hosted by the Thomas Clarke Gaelic Football Club at O’Neill Park. The New Yorkers, on behalf of State President Victor Vogel presented a signed copy of the 1918 Irish Freedom Mandate measure passed by the State legislature, which was immediately put on display in the museum room.

(from left seated) Tyrone AOH County President Gerry McGeough, NY State FFAI Chair Martin Galvin, NY State Secretary John Manning, Clarke Gaelic Club officer Art McCrory, Club Manager Michael Corrigan and Dungannon Town Historian Bertie Foley

The ceremony was opened by Tyrone County President Gerry McGeough He noted: 

 “Tyrone AOH is fully aware and deeply appreciative of the work done across the United States and particularly in New York State by the AOH, most recently the 1918  Irish Freedom Mandate.  We  do not often get the chance to thank you directly. Tyrone is especially proud that Thomas Clarke was a Tyrone man and a Dungannon man. We learned of the beautiful memorial that New York State AOH  and Suffolk County have erected at his American homesite. We wanted to give special recognition to you and are grateful to your State President Victor Vogel, and  to you for coming and accepting these awards. County Tyrone AOH  continues to grow, helped by groups like the Thomas Clarke Gaelic Football Club, here with us today, and the efforts of  the AOH in America”. 

New York State Secretary John Manning said in reply:

“On behalf of the New York State Ancient Order of Hibernians and representing our State President Vic Vogel, we are deeply grateful to County Tyrone AOH and the Thomas Clarke Gaelic Football Club for honouring us with these presentations.

“As an organization that cherishes Irish history and is deeply committed to Freedom-for-all Ireland, we take pride that in addition to being a Tyrone man and a Dungannon man, the great patriot Thomas Clarke was also an American citizen, who lived in Brooklyn and Manorville in Suffolk County New York before returning to Ireland and beginning the work of organizing and leading the Easter Rising of 1916.

“The Memorial to him at his home site in Suffolk County and the many commemorations we hold across the state and across America, reflect our continuing commitment to see Thomas Clarke’s county and all of the six counties get the national freedom and sovereignty he and the other Easter Week leaders proclaimed and pledged in 1916.

“These awards will be carried back and displayed in a special place of honor in our AOH halls and be a sign of further cooperation between us. Our State President Victor Vogel has asked me to convey a message that he hopes to visit you soon”.

Martin Galvin New York State Freedom for all Ireland Chairman then presented a copy of the New York State legislature’s measure honoring the centenary of Ireland’s 1918 Mandate for Freedom to Michael Corrigan, the Chairman of the Thomas Clarke GFC, who hosted the ceremony. He said:

“It is very special for us as New York Hibernians to receive recognition in Ireland. One of  the main objectives of the AOH in America is to promote Freedom for all Ireland. This year we will mark the centenary of the all Ireland vote where the Irish people voted an overwhelming mandate for freedom, for a thirty-two county all-Ireland parliament or Dail Eireann, and for the 1916 Rising. Tragically Britain answered this democratic vote for freedom with military oppression, sectarianism and partition and the price paid here in Tyrone and across the six counties. It never again permitted one all-Ireland vote.

“New York State AOH wishes to present you with a copy of the Irish Freedom Mandate Resolution, bearing the seal of the New York State Senate and Assembly, as a token of our continuing commitment and efforts throughout the year to support your right to freedom for  all of Ireland”. 

Michael Corrigan Chairman of the Thomas Clarke GFC, accepted the Mandate and announced it would permanently displayed in the Museum Room of the Stadium alongside a framed handwritten letter written by Thomas Clarke while in prison along with other historic items.

LAOH Member Michelle Robbins presenting plaque to NYAOH FFAI Chair Martin Galvin

Other dignitaries include, Dungannon Historian Bertie Foley, GAA official Art McCrory, Ladies AOH officers Michelle Robbins and Catherine Sewell, and Sperrins Mountains Environmental campaign activist Martin Tracey.

RELATIVES FOR JUSTICE

Following the ceremony, Martin Galvin attended a meeting hosted by Mark Thompson of Relatives for Justice at its Dungannon office. Representatives of a number of victims’ families attended.

Mr. Thompson and the families briefed Mr. Galvin on the newly published legacy consultation document made public by British colonial secretary Karen Bradley. Family after family talked about the delays, stonewalling and deceit which they have suffered over decades in trying to get justice. These tactics have made these victims deeply worried over what will emerge from new legacy structures. They were also deeply encouraged by the Congressional initiative and new awakening stemming from the Mark Thompson’s emergency tour hosted by the New York State AOH earlier this year.

Submitted by:
Martin Galvin
NYS AOH Freedom for All Ireland Chair
mgalvinesq@aol.com

Freedom For All Ireland Report – May 2018

by Martin Galvin
NYAOH FFAI Chair

A chairde:

FFAI ISSUES UPDATE

A-False claims raise Legacy Consultation concerns- British Prime Minister Theresa May’s patently untrue claims that British crown forces were the only ones being investigated for legacy killings, sparked charges that she misled Parliament, and raised concerns about legacy bad faith. Statistically investigations of British killings amounted to less than a third. Unlike Republicans such as Gerry McGeough and Seamus Kearney, no British trooper has been jailed. May’s appointee Karen Bradley published a consultation paper for hundreds of legacy killings, outlining four devices: (1) Historical Investigations Unit-(HIU),taking over investigations done by the Ombudsman and Historical Enquiries Team; (2) Independent Commission on Information Retrieval (ICIR)for private requests by family members about the deaths of loved ones; (3) Oral History Archive (OHA) collecting research and new and existing oral history on the Troubles; (4) Implementation and Reconciliation Group (IRG) to review implementation. Bradley took plans Britain agreed in the 2014 Stormont House Agreement and put them up for renegotiation, then offered 150 million pounds in legacy funding, set aside years ago but never released. Bradley echoed May’s false claims and said “that is why we needed a consultation”.

Nationalists and human rights groups reacted angrily. Relatives for Justice and the Pat Finucane Centre took out a half-page ad in the GUARDIAN NEWSPAPER publicly charging that May had misled Parliament. She was even refuted by former Justice Minister David Ford, current Victims Commissioner Judith Thompson and PSNI constabulary statistics. May’s rhetoric raised questions about whether Britain intended the new legacy mechanisms to give truth to victims or cover to crown forces. A potential national security blanket, DUP veto, or quota on investigations of British killings which ignores collusion, provide opportunities for a state forces cover-up. Meanwhile the British have refused to stop veterans groups from instructing former troopers to ignore requests for cooperation by the Ballymurphy Massacre Inquest.

B-Foster wants military covenant as Stormont absence hits 500 days- Democratic Unionist Party head Arlene Foster wants the “military covenant” in the north as another concession to get talks restarted, 500 days since the collapse of the Stormont Assembly. The military covenant would give preference to former British troopers and Ulster Defense Regiment members in housing, school placements, and medical waiting lists etc. Martin McGuinness resigned over Foster’s refusal to stand aside while her Renewable Heat Initiative, “money to burn” scandal was under investigation. Foster approved a plan which pays a profit to burn fuel, costing 500 million pounds. She blames her advisors. Talks had ended in a Valentine’s Day breakup after a compromise that would have allowed an Irish language act with Ulster Scots and an overriding Respecting Languages Bill. That compromise dropped objections to Foster, despite the continuing inquiry. Now Foster wants more concessions. 

C-Corbin neutrality not enough for Unionists- Jeremy Corbin, of the British Labour Party made his first visit to the north since becoming leader of the opposition. He was slammed by unionists for saying he would be neutral in any border poll under the terms of the Good Friday agreement and that he regretted all deaths in the conflict, without one-sided condemnation of the IRA. Corbin, who had visited the north and Sinn Fein during the conflict, took pains to state that he was not advocating a border poll and that he was against all violence. He was merely saying he would abide by the agreement. However this even-handedness brought angry reaction from Unionists, led by Gregory Campbell of the DUP who wanted a special meeting with relatives of those killed by Republicans. Campbell is one of ten DUP MPs propping up Theresa May as Prime Minister.    

D-RUC partied in the back of Loughgall death van-A former member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary bragged about holding parties in the bullet-ridden van where IRA Volunteers were killed by the SAS in a May 1987 ambush. The revelation was posted on a Facebook page administered by former SAS members. It appeared alongside photographs of the van and slain Volunteers. Eight IRA members and a civilian were killed in the incident now due for a legacy inquest. Some members of this feared IRA Unit were believed shot after capture. The van was hit by 125 bullets. The post boasted that RUC members held parties in the van during continuity training in 1988, while a former SAS member posted underneath “it was one of the best nights of my career”. Relatives of the dead were shocked and hurt. A sister of one of those killed, Mairead Kelly said it was “depraved” and “no one with common decency would make fun of the dead”. Brian Arthurs said his brother Declan “gave his life in a struggle for the freedom of his country.” Meanwhile, the DUP continues to condemn dignified commemorations for slain IRA members.

REMEMBERING PATRIOTS WITH PRIDE

Special congratulations to George McLaughlin, Seamus Boyle and all of those who helped dedicate headstones for Thomas Darragh and Robert Cranston, two of the six Fenians rescued in a great escape from imprisonment in Australia and brought safely back to America on the Catalpa. The ceremony took place on May 5, 2018 in Philadelphia.

Congratulations also to all those in Suffolk County who were responsible for the Thomas Clarke-Kathleen Daly Clarke and who were honored by the Tyrone AOH in Thomas Clarke’s hometown of Dungannon. A full account of the ceremony is posted on the New York State web site and am arranging to deliver their plaque from Ireland.

On July 22, 2018 the anniversary of Robert Emmet’s rebellion, there will be a special rededication and unveiling of a monument to the Emmet family in Beechwood Cemetery, New Rochelle at 3pm.

The family plot includes the graves of Thomas Addis Emmet, a United Irishman leader, among other family members who were patriots of Ireland as well as the United States. There will be a reception afterwards at the Heritage on McLean Avenue. For information call-718-877-0345.

YOUR FFAI EFFORTS ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE!

Having just returned from Ireland, I was deeply moved by how much our AOH FFAI work has meant to victims of British rule. At a meeting with Mark Thompson in Dungannon about a dozen families turned up. Each of them mentioned how important Mark’s Emergency Tour in January, the Congressional letter, and Congressional hearing were to them. They feel they have been told lies and stonewalled by the British for decades, when they ask for the truth about the murders of their loved ones. These families think that the British will use the DUP to cancel out any pressure for justice in the north, but that American pressure can make a difference.

These families, who have suffered so much, are grateful for our AOH FFAI help and are counting on us to continue. Mark is willing to return and also to enlist speakers from families of campaigns like the Ballymurphy Massacre which will be making headlines as the inquest begins this fall.

Every County who hosted an event last year had a tremendous success. I would like to host more tours and need your help for venues so I can propose something for our State President’s approval.

Looking forward to the National Convention, meeting FFAI leaders from around the Country and sharing some of the ideas that have worked for us in New York with other states!    

Please contact me at MGALVINESQ@AOL.COM.

Slan
Martin Galvin