Director Greg Sean Canning
National FFAI Co Chairman
On behalf of the National FFAI Co-Chairmen, I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Brothers and their State, County and Division Boards for their financial commitment to this year’s Christmas Appeal. Through your combined efforts and commitment in supporting those efforts that seek to effectively work for an eventual “United and Free 32 County Nation”, our 2014-2015 FFAI Christmas Appeal was the most successful ever. Through your efforts and the support of the National Board, we were able to donate over $68,000 to various groups operating within the 6 Counties on behalf of political prisoners and their families and establishing programs that encourage cross community cooperation.
Now that this year’s Christmas Appeal is over, we need to work more closely in dealing with the continuing injustices occurring within the North of Ireland and the growing attack on and resistance to nationalist goals and agendas. Only through direct and constant American involvement in the political affairs of the 6 counties, can the goal of a United Ireland be achieved.
As I have stated previously, the ongoing struggle for attaining a “United Ireland” and for ending the sectarian division that now exists between unionist and nationalist, has gone on far too long. While the Good Friday Agreement has brought a welcome peace to northeast Ulster, many problems and challenges still exist for the nationalist communities. Recent and past events in the six northern counties of Ireland exemplify why the time has now come for the national and state governments within the United States of America to once again exert its influence in a positive way to support a peaceful and final solution to this division.
As Hibernians, we need to re-focus our efforts in this direction. To begin with, each State President needs to appoint, if you have not done so already, a strong State FFAI Chairman or Co-Chairmen (if necessary). These State FFAI Chairmen should contact county and division boards within their respective states, to see that effect chairmen are being appointed at the local level. Once done so, each state should establish a method of communication among their FFAI chairmen within that state to coordinate activities and programs that will identify those issues of most concern to the nationalist community and work towards addressing the injustices that are occurring there. In addition, it is important for these FFAI chairmen to creating a strong relationship and direct communication with their Congressional Delegation in addressing 6 Counties’ issues and supporting United Ireland initiatives. This can be done by encouraging their delegations to join the Congressional Friends of Ireland and the Ad Hoc Committee on Irish Affairs.
At the national level, we need to create a more effective highway of communication between the State FFAI Chairmen and the National FFAI Co-Chairmen for the purpose of coordinating activities and responses to current issues taking place within the 6 Counties. The first step in working towards this goal is for each State FFAI to send their contact information to the two National Chairmen. Email address, phone contact information, and addresses would be most helpful. The email address for Greg Seán Canning is firstname.lastname@example.org. The email address for Paul Gowdy is email@example.com.
Working together, we can more effectively identify those issues and situations adversely affecting the political situation in Northern Ireland. We need to respond effectively to the gun and bomb attack by dissident groups that has recently occurred, the continued imprisonment of political prisoners despite the lack of substantial evidence, and the continued social and political divisions that exists between unionist and nationalist communities. We also need to support those endeavors that are pushing for the devolution of policing and justice powers as a way forward in working for the political transformation of the 6 Counties. In addition, we need to continue and double our efforts in seeking more State and County resolutions calling for a United Ireland.
Working together through effective communication and unity can better accomplish what needs to be undertaken.
As we all begin to focus ourselves on the events of the 1916 Easter Uprising, let us recall that 6 counties in the North of Ireland are still unfree and are forced to live every day under the flag and political structure on an occupying country.
Remember: “Ireland Unfree, will never be at Peace!”