Hibernians helping Hibernians

On Dec. 15, the first of the Storm Relief donations were distributed in Long Beach, Nassau County; Rockaway, Queens County; Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn; and Forked River, New Jersey.

National President Brendan Moore, Past National President and Storm Relief Chairman Seamus Boyle, National Board members Jere Cole, Chip McLean and Dan Dennehy, as well as Hibernian Charity Secretary Ed Dougherty traveled to all four locations for the distribution of checks to grateful Hibernians.

Irish Consul General Noel Kilkenny joined the group in support of the Hibernian effort.

Brooklyn President Jim Sullivan, Noel Kilkenny, Brendan Moore, Siobhan Dennehy (President, Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers), and Director Jere Cole at Baile Na NGeal.

Brooklyn President Jim Sullivan, Noel Kilkenny, Brendan Moore, Siobhan Dennehy (President, Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers), and Director Jere Cole at Baile Na NGeal.

President Brendan Moore presented a check to AOH Disaster Relief recipient.

President Brendan Moore presented a check to AOH Disaster Relief recipient.

President Moore, Disaster Committee Chair Boyle and Committee with New York and Connecticut state Presidents.

President Moore, Disaster Committee Chair Boyle and Committee with New York and Connecticut state Presidents.

Irish Consul General Noel Kilkenny with Mr. and Mrs. John T. Ridge at Baile NaNGael.

Irish Consul General Noel Kilkenny with Mr. and Mrs. John T. Ridge at Baile NaNGael.

A Rockaway AOH family

A Rockaway AOH family

Vice President Judge Jim McKay

Hope all is well and wishing all my brothers a prosperous New Year.  Hopefully by the time you are reading this, spring will be on its way and you will begin to think about the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day festivities.

Recently letters were sent to National Board members and Division Presidents requesting nominations for the Sean McBride Award.  The constitution requires that nominations be in by January 20, so by the time you have read this article all nominations will be in.  The final result will be published in the next Digest issue.  As you know, this very prestigious award will be presented at the next President’s Dinner to be held in New York City in October on behalf of our National President, Brendan Moore.

Queries have also been made to our State Presidents for information on our State conventions which will be held this summer as per our Constitution.  As soon as I receive the requested information I will have it published in our Hibernian Digest so that all brothers who are interested in going to their own state conventions or other state conventions will have the materials for their perusal.

I have also requested information from our Major Degree Teams for their scheduled presentations as well as their scheduled travel plans for the upcoming year.  This will afford our brothers who haven’t received our Major Degree an opportunity to obtain their Degree at a convenient time and place.

The Label Program is winding down and as of this date over nineteen hundred checks have been sent in with an average of just under twenty dollars per donation.  Our organization has traditionally endorsed this fundraiser over the years and thanks to the loyalty and generosity of our members they should be commended.

Our Executive Board had been diligently working at ironing out the minor details for our next two convention sites, St. Louis, 2014 and Atlantic City, 2016.  Information concerning the St. Louis convention will be forthcoming sometime in late summer so that State committeemen can start preparing for this National convention.

I hope that all have a meaningful and Holy St. Patrick’s Day and as Hibernians we should strive to keep a proper perspective for all our celebration.

 

God Bless

FFAI – Sean Pender

Concerned Irish American groups led by the AOH crafted the letter below to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton prior to her recent visit to Ireland. In the weeks since that visit it has become abundantly clear that our concerns are well founded and immediate attention is needed.

The continued white wash and lies by the British government regarding the Pat Finucane case, and the vitriolic mob-violence in the streets of Belfast in response to the democratically approved Belfast City council vote to no longer fly the British flag 365 days a year, and — possibly most alarming — the utter shamefulness of Unionist politicians trying to justify the actions of these mobs are examples of why British control of the North continues to fail.

National Board members with Gerry Adams, second from left, at NYC event were Jere Cole, left, Dan Dennehy, Sean Pender and President Brendan Moore.

National Board members with Gerry Adams, second from left, at NYC event were Jere Cole, left, Dan Dennehy, Sean Pender and President Brendan Moore.

The British government’s past human rights violations and murders of their own citizens has simply promoted a sectarian culture of hate and lies that it is not able to face up to or defend, so they continue to deny their complicity. Somehow they try to promote to the world a British version of the truth and when challenged regarding that version, they simply ignore or cover up.

In the coming months, Irish American groups will come together to further discuss our plans to address issues in the North during this, the 15th year since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

 

ITALICS START
December 4, 2012

This brief, prepared on the occasion of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to Ireland, offers some insight on the issues, we consider roadblocks on the path to peace and reconciliation created 15 years ago by the Good Friday Agreement.

At the Albany AOH, the Father John Murphy Award with this year’s honoree Kathy Savage and other Hibernians.

At the Albany AOH, the Father John Murphy Award with this year’s honoree Kathy Savage and other Hibernians.

We in the Ancient Order of Hibernians in America, have consulted with the Brehon Law Society, Irish American Unity Conference and  fellow  Irish American’s  in order to share our concerns about  the future of peace and Justice in the six North Eastern counties of Ireland.

Irish Americans, while thankful for the 15 years of relative peace since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, are frustrated with the lack of progress in the full implementation of the agreement especially in terms of legacy issues regarding victims and truth and justice.

The abusive treatment of Republican prisoners; the internment and incarceration of Gerry McGeough and Marion Price; the racist overtones and inequities in regulating the Orange Order marches; and our own US policy of Visa Denial to Republicans and others who worked for peace, so clearly demonstrated with the recent embarrassing visa denial of noted historian Tim Pat Coogan are among the issues that are of great concern to us all.

Niall Murphy of Kevin Winters Law firm and Mark Thompson the director for Relatives for Justice have presented to our groups an overview of the current systems set up to review legacy issues and the need for US and international intervention to address these issues.

Next week, the DeSilva review of the murder of the Pat Finucane is due. The method in which this review is being meted out has caused grave concern for all of us and can best be summed up by Finucane’s own son, John:  “Whilst we have not seen the Review’s contents, it’s fair to say we are extremely skeptical as to its conclusions and we fear that the British government will attempt to draw a line under my father’s murder once and for all on Dec 12th. Now more than ever, we are relying on international support, especially from the US, to make sure the British govt. Understand that until such times as there is a transparent examination of this case, then it will not go away.”

John Murphy Award Kathy Savage and trip participants

John Murphy Award Kathy Savage and trip participants

This week’s violence by Pro Unionist mobs represents perfectly the mindset of many in the British and Unionist mainstream. Instead of looking towards the future of peace and justice for all that treats all as equals, they cling to the past, a past that needs to be shown for what it was, full of the same inequities that today we hope this brief underscores.

On behalf of our fellow Irish Americans, we wish Secretary of State Clinton, those who travel with her, and those they meet, all the best wishes, a successful visit and safe return home. We hereby renew our pledge to strive with you on the journey towards true peace with justice in the north of Ireland.

Sincerely,

Sean Pender, National Freedom For All Ireland Chairman

Dan Dennehy, New York State Freedom For All Ireland Chairman

 

Massachusetts endorses Beth Lynch for National President

It is with great pleasure and excitement that I report that at our 96th Biennial Massachusetts State Convention, members took a unanimous vote to endorse Elizabeth (Beth) Lynch for the Office of National President.

As National Secretary, she diligently performed her duties.  Under her secretariat, she sent updates of all offices of the National Board to the National Board members and to the state and division presidents, realizing the importance of keeping the lines of communication open.  She was also able to revamp the National Charters and store them on a thumb drive which was forwarded to the incoming National President and Secretary.  This was necessary because the previous charters were old, faded, and more importantly, had an incorrect name for our Organization.  Above and beyond the secretarial duties, she served on a four member committee to overcome the issues the AOH had with the LAOH Constitution.  It is the result of this endeavor that we voted to remain united with AOH in Cincinnati in July 2010 enabling us to continue the joint efforts that make our organization so important.  While serving as National Secretary and representing our organization, Beth marched in the New York City Saint Patrick’s parade, and was invited to spend St. Patrick’s Day at the White House with President Obama and the first lady.   At the White House, She sat with Vice-president Biden’s sister Valerie Owens.

Beth has been a member of Division 18, Salem, Massachusetts for more than forty-five years.  At the Division level, she held most of her Division offices, including three terms as President, the position she currently holds.  Beth also was elected to the Essex County Board and served as President.  At the State level Beth has served as Vice President and President.  During her term as State President, Beth adopted two charities that Massachusetts continues to support.   Boston Catholic Television brings comfort and companionship to many of our shut-in members and other Roman Catholics across state lines.  The Boston Irish Pastoral Center was organized to help Irish immigrants coming into the US assisting them in obtaining jobs and housing.

She has also served as Committee Chairs at National Conventions on numerous occasions, including the Committee Chair for Appeals for Aid in Boston 2006.  Beth served as the host chairperson for the National Convention in 2006 and was responsible for many of the details that enabled the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to host a very successful National Convention.

Beth has received many awards for her hard work.  She has been honored as the Catholic Irish Woman of the year.  She was involved for many years in Irish Northern Aid.  For her involvement, she received an award in recognition of her contribution to the cause of Irish Freedom.

Her maternal grandparents hail from County Donegal and her paternal grandparents from County Cork.   She is the daughter of the late Mary Bradley and John Lynch.  Beth has been a Sister Hibernian since the age of 16.

Beth served for many years on the ethnic festival committee for the City of Salem, working with members of the Irish community in promoting her Irish heritage. She has also served on several fund raising projects including Operation Troop Support, which collects articles for our armed forces and on a Christmas fund raiser for My Brother’s Table, a local soup kitchen.

Currently she is a credit analyst with Avnet Electronics where she is frequently recognized for her success in with working with international firms.

We, the Sisters of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians from the Commonwealth and the 9 Divisions of Massachusetts recognize the extraordinary abilities of Beth Lynch as a candidate and hope you will join us in electing Beth to the office of National President.  Thank you for your consideration.

Vice President’s Message

Highlights

Fall 2011 has been both busy and exciting, with the weekend in Philadelphia standing out as a memorable high point. A very productive National Board meeting was held early in the day, followed by the National President’s Testimonial during which Seamus Boyle was appropriately thanked and roasted. Seamus shifted the focus from himself, however, to the winding down of the AOH’s 175th Anniversary Commemoration, as well as the presentation of the AOH/LAOH Sean MacBride Humanitarian Award. The entire event was a valuable opportunity to network with and enjoy the company of so many great Hibernians from across the United States.

Coming two weeks later, the New York State Board meeting in Schenectady was an opportunity to deal with New York plans and issues, and I must admit that I came away very grateful and proud of having been endorsed by my Brothers to run for National President.

Advent and Christmas challenge us to step back from the “busy and exciting” and dwell (mentally and spiritually!) in the realm of the quiet, the peaceful and the thought-filled. It’s not easy, but it’s the real Christmas gift we owe ourselves.

Clara Reilly was this year’s recipient of the MacBride Award mentioned above. In reflecting back on 2011, I will certainly be thinking of her along with the other outstanding persons I have been blessed to be with during the past year. Because some have requested it, I offer below the speech I gave in presenting Clara with the MacBride Award.

“Clara Reilly, native of Belfast, founding member of the United Campaign Against Plastic Bullets, founding member and chair of Relatives For Justice, has been selected as the 2011 MacBride Award recipient based on balloting conducted among National Board members and State Presidents of both the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians. The purpose of the prestigious Sean MacBride Award is specified in the AOH National Constitution, which states: ‘To memorialize the human rights contributions made by Nobel Peace Laureate Dr. Sean MacBride and to recognize the efforts of others who make similar contributions in the cause of peace, justice, and the economic well-being of the Irish people…’

I am certain that you will soon conclude that tonight’s honoree is the perfect choice for this year’s MacBride Award.

The mother of six small children at the time, Clara began documenting British human rights abuses in the north of Ireland in 1970. In a world without cell phones, without email, or any online capabilities, Clara Reilly made records of arrests, took prisoner statements, and arranged for legal representation for ordinary citizens imprisoned by the Royal Ulster Constabulary. In an upside-down perversion of  government, whereby citizens were savagely beaten on their own streets, only to be stockpiled and beaten again in undisclosed locations, she responded to the emotional needs of terrified family members anxious to learn the when, the where, the why, and the how of their loved ones’ arrests. In the Orwellian world of British misrule in Northern Ireland, Clara Reilly’s kitchen provided the calming cup of tea, as well as the message of sympathy, hope, and assurance so urgently needed by victims’ loved ones. With so few resources available to her except for her rock-solid sense of determination, a caring heart, and unshakable zeal for the rights of others, Clara Reilly managed to transform that tiny kitchen into command central in the quest for fair treatment for her fellow citizens.

As both the British army and the RUC were to soon realize, Clara Reilly was not to be worn down, was not to be intimidated, and certainly was not to be dismissed in her quest for accurate information. She soon emerged as one of a different, fiercer, more invincible breed of combatants — the modern Irishwoman.

She was successful in urging the Irish government to take the British government before the European Court on Human Rights where it was found guilty of torture and inhumane and degrading treatment. Along with attorney Pat Finucane, Clara again challenged the British government’s procedures as wrongful arrest. Ultimately, Reilly and Finucane were vindicated when the high court ruled that the process of interrogation the RUC called “screening” was illegal. But sadly, their victory was truly bittersweet in that it was followed by the assassination of Pat Finucane as he sat down to dinner with his wife and family. To this day the British government has failed to respond adequately to the widely held and carefully detailed contention that both the security forces and British intelligence units were at least complicit, if not the initiating force, behind Pat’s assassination. But for anyone else this would and should have been a message, a warning, a wake-up call, an obvious threat. To stop. To walk away. To surrender. Clearly, once again, the Brits failed to recognize the kind of person they were dealing with.

Clara, when we announced your name as the recipient of this award there was a pervasive sense of satisfaction among Hibernians here in the U.S., as well as among your many close associates in Ireland. However, one of your own colleagues, Andre Murphy, of Relatives For Justice in Belfast, saw fit to send us a reflection on the impact of all you have sought to accomplish. I was most struck by three of his statements:

First: ‘She defended human rights and human life at a time when they had lost their value in the turmoil of our recent Irish conflict…’

Next: ‘Clara Reilly stood up for those with no voice. For those being tortured, imprisoned without due process, being injured with no recourse, and murdered with impunity… Clara Reilly stood up and was counted, regardless of the fear she felt for herself and her own family.’

And finally, Murphy declared: ‘There are homes across the north where people will state that when the worst of our conflict came to their door, no one else did — but Clara Reilly.’

For these many reasons and more we are delighted and proud to present you with this 2011 AOH/LAOH Sean MacBride Humanitarian Award.”

Immigration

The past few months have been a flurry of activity regarding immigration. The AOH has always formed the basis of Irish-American support for positive legislation and adjudication on Irish issues and Immigration is no exception. The AOH Preamble states that the purpose of the AOH is “to encourage an equitable U.S. Immigration law for Ireland, and cooperate with all groups for a fair American immigration policy.

 

Starting with the National Board’s diplomatic meeting with the Irish Ambassador Michael Collins and his staff, President Boyle continues to make resolution to Irish immigration reform and Thar Saile top priorities for this Board. The cooperation we have received from fellow Hibernians and National Board members to these ends is gratifying.

 

National PEC Chair Ned McGinley and I joined Bruce Morrison (ILIR lobbyist), Stella O’Leary (Irish American Democrats) and Ciaran Staunton (ILIR) at a meeting in the West Wing of the White House. We let the White House know the Irish have done much to aid the war on terror and Homeland Security with the Shannon Stopover and U.S. customs and immigration enhancements at Irish airports should not go unrewarded. The Irish have long been ignored in the dialog in the national debate on immigration as focus and often anger is directed at all immigrants due to the issues at the U.S. southern border. The need for the E3 visa creating future flow of over 10,500 visas annually and methods to resolve the plight of the Irish undocumented were discussed with representatives of the White House and Homeland Security.

 

In a recent conversation with Bruce Morrison, he described a focal point of the Irish E3 argument; creating “a culture of compliance” to immigration laws by those who desire to live and work in the U.S. coupled combined with a fair, renewable quota of visas for participating nations. An amended E3 would provide a legal channel with indefinite renewal for Irish applicants and their spouses. He is also seeking an admissibility waiver to waive the 10-year bar for overstaying in the U.S. for applicants. This aspect, admittedly, proves to be a difficult sell but would clear the way for undocumented Irish to apply for the E3. Janet Napolitano and the White House recently unveiled their strategies for immigration reform. Should these policies be adopted the undocumented Irish would be included and allowed to live and work in the U.S. regardless of how they entered the country. We will follow these initiatives closely.

 

An Tánaiste Eammon Gilmore and a delegation of Irish Department of Foreign Affairs leadership, including Ambassador Michael Collins and Secretary General David Cooney, came to N.Y. recently for the U.N. General Assembly. As part of the Minister’s visit, a reception in the N.Y. Irish Consulate and meetings with the Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers led by CIIC President Siobhan Dennehy (LAOH Division 18 Peekskill) and the ILIR, were held. On Sunday, as part of a visit to the Bronx office of the Emerald Isle Immigration Center, EIIC Chairman Brian O’Dwyer, Mike Carroll (Brehon Law Society) and I met with An Tánaiste Gilmore and N.Y. Consul General Noel Kilkenny for a frank and productive dialog on Irish immigration initiatives and goals.

 

A follow-up meeting with Irish Embassy officials where Ned and I were joined by National Director Keith Carney and met with two recently arrived, leading Irish Embassy officials. At that meeting, we reiterated that the AOH will support legislation that includes a permanent solution for future flow for Irish immigrants as well as a solution for the Irish undocumented. There can be no doubt that our voice is being heard on our immigration concerns.

 

Thar Saile invited Sean Pender (National FFAI) and I to a meeting with Irish Consul General Gerry Staunton and to attend Thar Saile’s annual meeting. At these two very productive sessions, Sean and I were able to underline the AOH’s support for Thar Saile and recent developments on the cases will prove that our work was both timely and necessary. Matt Morrison, Thar Saile President, unable to attend his engagement as a speaker at the NYS FFAI Christmas Appeal fundraiser on October 13 at Harbour Lights Restaurant, credited the presence of two AOH National Board members, Sean Pender and myself, as key ingredients for the success of the two meetings. He sent a message to attendees at the National Board meeting and the NYS AOH fundraiser that much progress has been made in getting his work and travel permissions sorted.

 

I am grateful when members who make me aware of Irish immigrants in distress. On July 4th, NYS Secretary Tim McSweeney reported that a Derry man was incarcerated in Albany for a visa violation. A summer-long fight to get this man back to his wife and 2-year-old daughter and his B&B business in Derry ensued. Despite appeals from Irish President Mary McAleese (his relative) and many others in the Irish Nationalist and Derry community, he was held by the slow moving bureaucracy of ICE for nearly three months! Thanks to the efforts of Brother McSweeney and the cooperation of the N.Y. Consulate we were able to keep the man in communication with his family in Boston and in Derry. He and his family are now happily reunited and grateful for the support they received from the AOH. The nightmare of his long incarceration may be over but it clearly points out the need for our work and communication on immigration.

 

The time to get involved with these issues is now. I ask that you consider becoming your Division’s Immigration Chairman and contact me with any questions or concerns: Dan Dennehy, 22 Andre Lane, Cortlandt Manor, NY 10567, by email: dandennehy@hotmail.com or phone (914)588-2710.

 

Yours in Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity,

Dan Dennehy

 

Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers www.ciic-usa.org

Emerald Isle Immigration Center www.eiic.org

Cross Care www.migrantproject.ie/emigrating_from_ireland_usa.htm

Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform www.irishlobbyusa.org

Thar Saile www.tharsaile.org

Historians Report

I send my greetings to all of you as you continue to do good works in the name of our Order.  By the time you receive this edition of the Hibernian Digest, all of our LAOH State Conventions will be completed.  I congratulate the officers elected to serve for the 2011-2013 Term of Office and those appointed to serve for the 2011-2013 Term of Office.   To those of you who completed your State Officer or Appointee duties, I say thank you for your service.

It was my pleasure to be able to spend time with so many of you in Long Island, NY at the Interim National Board Meeting and at National President Margaret Hennessy’s Testimonial Dinner where we recognized Margaret Hennessy’s service to our Order.  Your presence at these events strengthens our Friendship, Unity, & Christian Charity.

As many of you have questioned the need to complete the Annual History Reports at the Division, County Board, and State Board Levels, I discussed this matter with the National Board members at the Interim National Board.  At this time, I am informing all of you that the Annual History Reports are to be completed at the end of the calendar year.  This report at each level summarizes the history of the Order at that level for the given calendar year.  This document may be shared with any entity who wants to know who we are and what we do each year.

Yes, some of the information requested on the Annual History Report is also provided on other forms required to be completed by various officer holders.  This fact was taken into consideration when the timelines for the completion of the Annual History Reports were set.  Thus, the Irish Historian is able to secure most of the information requested on the Annual History Report by gathering the data from other officers at her Division, County Board, or State Board level.  All Division, County Board, and State Board Annual Reports for each State are to be submitted to the National Historian.  The National Historian will complete an electronic file of all of these documents to be maintained as the History of the Order for the given calendar year.

I will be communicating directly with State Presidents and State Irish Historians in late November to remind them to work within their State to complete these reports.  I encourage all members to be aware of the timelines for the completion of these Annual History Reports:

(1) Division Level Annual History Reports are to be completed by January 31 and forwarded to the County Board Irish Historian, if applicable, or to the State Irish Historian.

(2) County Board Level Annual History Reports are to be completed by February 28 and forwarded along with all of the Division Level Annual History Reports to the State Irish Historian.

3) State Board Level Annual History Report is to be completed by March 31 and forwarded along with all of the County Board Annual History Reports and all Division Annual History Reports to the National Irish Historian.

It was good to see many of you in Philadelphia PA at AOH National President Seamus Boyle’s Testimonial Dinner.  In addition to recognizing Seamus Boyle’s service, the Sean McBride Humanitarian Award was presented to Clara Reilly, and the final 175thAnniversary celebration of the Ancient Order of Hibernians in America was completed.

I pray that you will enjoy some special time during the Thanksgiving season to give thanks for the many blessings you, your family, and your Hibernian Sisters share.  Let us give thanks for those to serve to keep our country free and for their families who make such sacrifices for us too.  May each of us make some special time to prepare for the coming of Jesus during Advent.

Maryland News

Ned McGinley, left, Tim Harvey and Seamus Boyle.

It has been a busy summer in Maryland. First, more than a hundred AOH/LAOH members and guests attended the Maryland AOH-LAOH State Convention at the Rocky Gap Resort and Lodge in Cumberland. The weekend kicked off with a talent contest at the icebreaker Friday night. State Secretary, Michael Willis, won the judges over with his rendition of Danny Boy to take first prize. Saturday was a full day of meetings for the men and ladies with a joint presentation by Sean Pender on the efforts of the Freedom for All Ireland committee, which was a learning experience for all. I was much appreciative to have so many of our National Board members in attendance.

National President Seamus Boyle provided information on the efforts of the National Board, the 175th Anniversary celebrations, and information learned from other conventions he has attended. Seamus was also able to update the members on events taking place at the Medal of Honor Grove.

The Maryland State Board voted to contribute $500 to the restoration of the MoH Grove.

National Director Danny O’Connell gave a very informative talk and led a discussion on organizing and membership. Many were eager to go out and recruit new members.

National Director Jere Cole gave an update on the 175th Anniversary medallion and I think he was able to make a few sales.

National Director Keith Carney addressed the delegation about the on-line Digest and how he could assist the Maryland AOH on a number of projects. Members from the Allegany County division in Cumberland provided a talk on the obstacles and hurdles they ran into and overcame to have a Celtic cross erected on federal property along the C&O canal in memory of the workers killed in building the canal.

Following the reports of the various State committees and an update of the activities of the divisions around the state, elections were held and I’m happy to report that the State Board was re-elected.

Danny O'Connell, left, Keith Carney, Tim Harvey (MD President) Jere Cole, Seamus Boyle, Sean Pender, Jay Linahan (MD Vice President).

Installation of the officers was conducted by Danny O’Connell and Jere Cole. After a Mass in the hotel, dancing by the LAOH Jrs, and a very enjoyable banquet, more fun was had in the hospitality suite late into the night to close out the convention. A few members managed to get in a round of golf before heading home on Sunday.

Coming off the convention, plans were in full swing to organize the first official fundraiser for the Barry Memorial in Annapolis. Members from Division 5 in Baltimore worked with John McInerney and Jack O’Brien to pull together a team consisting of brothers from the D.C. area to include Keith Carney and D.C. President Bob April, Maryland AOH and LAOH, and the Maryland Friendly Sons of St. Patrick to plan the event. Several planning sessions were held to work the logistics and get everything donated. A goal of $10,000 was set. Letters were sent to all the Irish organizations in the Baltimore area and committee members reached out to area businesses. The event was planned for the Irish Shrine and Railroad Workers Museum and the committee worried about the heat that Baltimore had faced all summer given this would be an outdoor event. Well, as Irish luck would have it, we had rain. With a few tents and room in the museum and adjoining houses to shelter the almost 200 people in attendance, over $16,000 was raised.

National President Seamus Boyle, Hibernian Charity Chairman Ned McGinley and LAOH National President Margaret Hennessey were on hand for the check presentations as were Directors Keith Carney and Jere Cole. I thank the National Board members for their attendance in support of how much the Oder is behind this worthy cause. Also in attendance was a number of the Friendly Sons of St Patrick from Philadelphia. (John Barry was a member of the Friendly Sons). We cannot thank enough the team of John McInerney and Jack O’Brien for their dedication. Donations were also received from the Baltimore Police and Fire Department Emerald Societies, Irish Northern Aid, Irish Charities of Maryland, Baltimore City Divisions 4 and 5, Baltimore County Division 1, and the D.C. State Board. The Maryland AOH and LAOH State Boards gave $1,000 each. A highlight of the event was the signing of a letter to accept the contract with the Naval Academy.

Vice President’s Message

WE’VE MOVED!

In case you need to get in contact by means other than email:

Brendan Moore

25 Avner Lane

West Nyack, NY 10994

914-712-5463

 

THE MAJOR DEGREE

Once someone has joined the AOH, what really is the purpose or value of the Major Degree?  The Major Degree of the Ancient Order of Hibernians is an important component of who we are and what we are as an organization. The Degree ceremony itself must be seen and experienced as a journey towards greater and deeper awareness. It is an opportunity for each of us to reflect on and absorb the very purpose of being a Hibernian. As such, it is, indeed, a significant opportunity for all in attendance (candidates, Degreed observers, and even Major Degree Team members) to focus on why we call each other brother. And it should directly challenge each of us to pause and re-commit ourselves to the AOH’s ideal that our Hibernian Brothers stand at our side and on our side, truly caring for and about us.

With all of that in mind, I am providing below the details for upcoming Major Degrees, hoping that you will take the opportunity to participate.

 

DATE         TEAM                    LOCATION        CONTACT        PHONE           EMAIL

07-24-11     Brian Boru MDT    Richmond, VA      JJ Kelly              703-475-9415   IrishKnight@cox.net

10-02-11    Tara Court MDT     Worcester, MA      Dick Thompson 617 755 8467    rthomp521@comcast.net

10-09-11    Schenectady MDT  Schenectady, NY   Michael Glenn   518-505-3588    mglen2@nycap.rr.com

10-23-11    Tara Court MDT     Suffolk, NY           Walter Butler     631-736-2171

 

PRIDE AND ACCOMPLISHMENT  

June 29 brought a team of National Board members to Washington, DC, for a variety of purposes. The day was planned around an invitation to lunch with Irish Ambassador Michael Collins, who was anxious to promote communication with the AOH and provide an opportunity to share ideas, concerns, and reactions on a range of topics. While I am certain that this event will be alluded to elsewhere in this edition of the Digest, I would simply like to focus on my own perception.

I was quite proud of the manner in which we presented ourselves! In our listening and our speaking, we came across on the whole broad range of “Irish issues” as both truly committed and knowledgeable. Whether it was visas, the undocumented Irish, U.S. immigration legislation, tourism, the state of the Irish economy, the Six Counties, or future joint ventures with the Irish government, our team clearly articulated facts, impressions, and solutions. Great job, Brothers!

 

New Jersey News

NJ AOH Convention chairman Ray Barnes, ably assisted by Nick Mullaney, Kevin Weldon and John Keane planned and hosted in Belmar and Spring Lake, NJ the 2011 NJ AOH convention.  The theme for the convention was “One Island, One Ireland”.  The convention was opened at the Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh hall in Belmar.  The Shillelagh’s hospitality and welcome are legendary.

At the start of business; Sean Pender was nominated for President by his good friend and Msgr. Crean Division brother Malachy McAllister and seconded by his father in law Jim McLoughlin a Hibernian for over 50 years.  Other officers nominated for the 2011-2013 executive board were Vice President Kevin Weldon of Monmouth 32, Treasurer Sean Hughes of Bergen 32 and Secretary Bob Carr of Ocean 4. The slate which represents the four corners of NJ was elected without opposition.  Brothers from throughout the state spent the evening catching up on past acquaintances and a enjoying a night at the Jersey Shore.

Saturday brought with it a full day of business meetings, mass and closed with a memorable dinner program. Successful NJ AOH Division programs were highlighted at the convention meeting.  Presentations were given by:  Jim Shaw of Monmouth 2 on their highly successful “Polar Bear Plunge” which last year raised over $100,000 for Catholic Education, Gerry O’Rahilly of Mercer 10 on their inspiring Gael Scoil program which has been a highly successful program that teaches children in Mercer County Irish history, language, sport and culture.  Their success may yield NJ’s first junior division; Michael Breen of Bergen 32 presented on Mary’s Gift: the 501c3 that he founded which promotes Irish language schools in the North of Ireland.  Mary’s Gift has been recipient of FFAI Christmas Appeal funds over the last couple of years. Sean Pender presented on Home for our Troops a very deserving charity that the NJAOH hopes to help fund in 2011-2013; National Board members Director/National Organizer Danny O’Connell and National Immigration Chairman Dan Dennehy also gave very informative presentations.

Recognized for their great work were outgoing President Jere Cole and outgoing treasurer Jack Nosti.  The prestigious Curtin and Torphy awards were bestowed upon NJAOH Veteran’s Chairman Bernie Snyder and outgoing secretary and past NJ AOH President Bill Young. After a two fine presentations from divisions in Mercer and Gloucester County, Msgr. Crean Mercer County was chosen to host the 2013 NJ AOH convention.  In honor of the 95th anniversary of 1916 Monmouth County Div 2 member Brain Sloan read the proclamation of 1916 to close the business meeting. Mass was concelebrated by Fathers Cahill and Nolan and the ten hunger strikers of 1981 were remembered during the opening of mass.  National officers Dennehy, Cole and O’Connell installed the new board. The closing dinner and program was first class and held at Doolan’s Shore Club in Spring Lake, NJ.  Mayor of Belmar and AOH brother Matt Doherty welcomed all delegates, members and guests to the Jersey Shore. Recognized for their support for a United Ireland were NJ State Senator Sean Kean and Congressman Frank Pallone.  The featured speaker was U.S. Sinn Fein representative Rita O’Hare who thanked the NJ AOH for making NJ the first state in the Union to pass the United Ireland resolution.

 

Ken Adam, Malachy McAllister, Jim McLoughlin, Sean Pender and Michael Glass