by Martin Galvin
NYAOH FFAI Chair
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.”
C – 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.
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.