Kansas News

The Father Bernard Donnelly Division of Kansas, located in the greater Kansas City Metro area and the only formal Hibernian group in the state, recently held a special meeting to induct three new members into our group. We want to welcome David West, Matt Fitzmorris, and Rusty Murray into our group. We know that they will be great additions for us. This brings our membership to over 70 now.

We also recently completed our second annual AOH Garage Sale. We did this in cooperation with and on the grounds of Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas. Our members cleaned out their basements, garages, and closets. We split the proceeds with Catholic Charities and what we didn’t sell we donated to them. It was a win-win for both organizations.

Like many parts of the country, we have endured some brutally hot days this summer. One of our longtime members, Charlie Lamonte, came up with the wonderful idea to take up a collection and donate money to the Bishop Sullivan Elder Cool program. Through this program they donate air conditioners and fans for the poor and elderly. Thanks to Charlie’s efforts we raised $325. The people at The Bishop Sullivan Center were extremely grateful and touched.


We have two important events in September for which we are preparing. The first is our second annual Irish Classic Golf Tournament. We do this in conjunction with our brothers on the Missouri side, The Padraig Pearse Division, and the Kansas City Irish Center. Proceeds from the tournament benefit all parties.

The second event is our participation in the annual Kansas City Irish Fest. This festival of Irish song, dance, and culture has grown to be a major attraction in the Kansas City area. It is held on the grounds of the beautiful Crown Center Pavilion. It attracts crowds estimated at 50,000 people over the Labor Day weekend. The festival has counted on us to man one of the gates and beverage token booths for so long now that last year they designated our gate “The Hibernian Gate”. We have also humbly accepted the honor over the last several years to be both the ushers and the honor guard for the Mass that is held on Sunday on the grounds of the festival. We look forward to another wonderful KC Irish Fest.

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.


On Wednesday, October 13th the first research study of the needs of older Irish people in the U.S. was launched in Long Island City, Queens.  The Gallagher Initiative, as the study will be known, was launched by The Fund for the Advancement of Social Services through the office of Senator Charles J. Schumer. The project is a response to the outrage experienced by many Irish Americans when they learned of the death of Tony Gallagher, a 72-year-old Irishman from County Mayo who died alone at his home in Queens in December 2008 and whose body wasn’t discovered for over a week. The objective of the Gallagher Project is to identify and learn how older Irish are coping and to make informed recommendations to service providers about service needs and gaps in the community.

Led by faculty members from Fordham University and Hunter College, the study director is Dr. Elaine M. Walsh for the Fund for the Advancement of Social Services. The project will be collaborating with senior programs, churches, and has been warmly welcomed by Irish American organizations in New York.   Commenting on the potential value of this project Dr. Walsh noted, “This is the first needs assessment of older Irish in New York and promises to be a template for similar studies in other parts of the country.  It is an honor to lead this first needs assessment of the older Irish.  It is vital for the Irish community to come forward to participate directly or by referring others.”

Announced at a community lunch in the New York Irish Center in Long Island City, Queens, by Ciaran Staunton who first called for this study to be completed said “This is a serious response by Senator Schumer to a culturally sensitive issue, that is, how we identify and address the needs of our Irish aging population, which is reflective of other ethnic groups.”  Mae O’ Driscoll of County Cork, a member of the study’s Advisory Committee welcomed the initiative and spoke of its importance within the community.  The Emerald Isle Immigration Center in Queens warmly welcomed the study as did the Director of the Irish Center in Long Island City, Paul Finnegan, whose Center has been to the forefront in provision of services to the older Queens Irish population.

The project intends to interview at least 400 Queens residents age 55 or older who were born in Ireland or have a parent who was born in Ireland.  The directors are especially interested in talking to older Irish immigrants who may be isolated. If you are interested in participating in the study or know someone who may be, please call Dr Elaine Walsh at 917.575.7158 or email Gallagher.initiative@gmail.com.

Ciaran Staunton 9172510739

Charities and Missions

I’m very happy to report that the response for our request for support for those affected by the 2009 flooding in Ireland has generated donations totaling (as of the end of April) $19,280.00 and the checks are still arriving. Over 100 boards, divisions, individual members and non-members answered the call by opening both their hearts and wallets and mailing contributions. This is especially gratifying given economic times and the number of charities we support. Every member should be proud of the response.

Our thanks and congratulations go to the following boards and divisions who continue the charitable efforts of our Order by organizing projects and supporting causes in their communities. The following have submitted reports since our last edition:  St. Patrick Division 4 of Allegheny County who donated over $4900.00 to 28 various causes as well as working 950 man hours; St. Columcille Division 4 of Staten Island who contributed $13,500 to 28 various funds as well as working 250 man hours; Thomas W Carroll Division 1 of Erie County who contributed $1495.00 to several local charities including the Buffalo Irish Center and the Patrick J Curran Division 15 of Queens who’s $450.00 supported local funds including the Cystic Fibrous Foundation. Note to Divisions: When submitting reports of man hours worked please remember to include the charity you are supporting. The information is helpful in providing ideas to other divisions. Please also remember to include one of the form reports with your submissions to all activities. The information provided on the report: Division Name, location and number of members in the division is needed to properly record your activities. Thank you to all for your efforts in reaching out to those in need!

OMAGH BASKETBALL TOUR UPDATELocal organizers of the tour: Dennis Daly in Pennsylvania, Kevin Weldon in New Jersey, Dick Thompson & Dick Wall in Massachusetts and Frank Kearney Jr in Connecticut held a conference call with Eamon Daly, Omagh’s coach on April 20th and all have been (and are) busy finalizing local plans for the teams visit from July 15th to the 26th.  While a few details must still be ironed out the following is the planned schedule for the tour: July 15 arrival at JFK Airport; July 16 and 17 games and clinics in Neptune, New Jersey; July 18 a tour of New York City; July 19 a day at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ; July 20 a game and clinic in Philadelphia, PA; July 21 a day in the sun & surf at Wildwood NJ and then off to Connecticut where they will end their day with a pool & pizza party; July 22 a morning clinic and afternoon game in Meriden, CT and an evening with the Minnesota Twins minor league baseball club in New Britain, CT; July 23 a visit to the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield MA while on route to an evening game in Watertown, MA; July 24 game and clinic in Watertown, MA; July 25 a day in Boston, MA including a visit to Boston Garden, the home of the teams favorite professional team, the Boston Celtics and July 26 brings their flight back to Northern Ireland.

Local expenses for the visit are being covered by donations and fundraisers and we ask that members and friends in each area do what they can to support local efforts. Anyone wishing to make a donation can send a check made payable to Hibernian Charity-Omagh Basketball and mail to the Charity at PO Box 391, Meriden, CT 06451.

It’s difficult to believe it’s been two years since the New Orleans Convention and that Cincinnati is only a month away.  It’s been a busy and productive two years and I’d like to extend my gratitude to all those who have worked as hard as they have in promoting the charitable works of our noble Order. It’s been a pleasure and an honor to serve the membership as Missions & Charities Chairman and I offer my prayers and best wishes to all for success in your future efforts.