Pat Rattigan Freedom For All Ireland


As I write this article, it is hard to believe that Labor Day will be upon us shortly, I honestly do not know where the time goes but here we are approaching the fall, (hark do I hear jingle bells in the far off distance), the Christmas Appeal takes the spotlight.  At our convention this past July in Pearl River New York, Sean Pender was invited by the State Presidents to give a presentation on the Charities our annual Christmas Appeal support and it was very enlightening.

Our appeal supports an array of groups; the vast majority of our donations will continue to support those who sacrificed so much for Irish freedom including those ex-prisoners in the US seeking to regularize their status and organizations that work for truth and justice but we also support and help assist cross-community opportunities, and aid in reconciliation efforts. (For info on groups we support visit the FFAI page of the AOH national website)

I hope that we continue to get great individual support through $10 club donations.  But to set this year’s appeal apart from all other we need to increase the percentage of boards and divisions that donate to the appeal.  With all our successes we still have less than 55% of all divisions and boards donating to the appeal.  I ask that all State, County and Division Presidents make it a point this year to stress the importance of supporting the appeal in your area of responsibility.  Every division and board should make a donation regardless of size.  Please read Sean’s column for the Appeal particulars as I did not want to be redundant.  Remember Ladies, please mail your donations to me to be logged in and I will move the checks along to Sean.  You can also designate the charity(s) from the list you wish to support by noting them on the memo section of your check if you choose to do so.  A mailing will follow shortly.

Secondly, I would like all of you to put a new book on your reading list – “In The Time of Famine” by author Michael Grant.  The paperback version is available at: https://www.createspace.com/3639656.   All eBook reader versions (Barns & Noble Nook, Kindle, Sony, etc.) can be found at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/76583.


Here is a brief synopsis of the book:   In 1845 a blight of unknown origin destroyed the potato crop in Ireland triggering a series of events that would change forever the course of Ireland’s history. The British government called the famine an act of God. The Irish called it genocide. By any name the famine caused the death of over one million men, women, and children by starvation and disease. Another two million were forced to flee the country.

With the famine as a backdrop, this is a story about two families as different as coarse wool and fine silk. Michael Ranahan, the son of a tenant farmer, dreams of breaking his bondage to the land and going to America. The passage money has been saved. He’s made up his mind to go. And then—the blight strikes and Michael must put his dream on hold.

The landlord, Lord Somerville, is a compassionate man who struggles to preserve a way of life without compromising his ideals. To add to his troubles, he has to deal with a recalcitrant daughter who chafes at being forced to live in a country of “bog runners.”

In The Time of Famine is a story of survival. It’s a story of duplicity. But most of all, it’s a story of love and sacrifice.