The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Ancient Order of Hibernians, in America

 

Ned McGinley, National President, Ancient Order of Hibernians in America
• 23 August 2004

I have to tell you that I have always admired your quote: "Our differences will never defeat us so long as we have the courage to air them". It also reduces paranoia.

Richard Wallace's article or comment was read by several of our members who wanted an answer from us. I felt that in the true spirit of "better I am blamed than someone else", which several signer's of the American Colonies Declaration of Independence from England used to justify their large handwriting or additional identifying remarks (John Carroll of Carrolton) while declaring their freedom from British rule in 1775, I would write the clarification.

First let me state that we do not make comments or suggestions to the AOH Board of Erin. We are two separate organizations since the later 1800's. We have worked on several joint projects in Ireland on a memorial for "An Gorta Mor" and the Wexford Senate as well as participated in their parades and other social events with them. We have great respect for them and all that they have stood for over the years as Irish Nationalists.

The AOH in Derry have allowed us to use their Hall in Derry to meet for several years when a large contingent of AOH in America come over for the Bloody Sunday Commemoration and at other times. Many of the Derry members would have been members of the Civil Rights Movement and have been present in 1972 at Bloody Sunday and of course before that. Their members have been friends of the American Board for decades as we visited Derry in more difficult times. Although we have been personally present for meetings in their Hall for various groups, many of them nationalist and republican groups that did not pay a fee, we would never feel that we would have the ability to or should give advice as to whom they might allow to use their Hall.

We would have a similar, though less close, relationship with the GAA in that we would support them in their endeavors but we would not feel that we would have the information to discuss there rules of membership nor would we feel any obligation, should they approach us on our requirements for membership. Certainly they would have more knowledge of their requirements than someone like the AOH in America.

Mr. Wallace would seem to have little knowledge of the AOH in America and our support for Irish Nationalism so several and a few examples from history might help him to know us better.

The Ancient Order of Hibernians in America in the Purpose statement of the Constitution, first written in the 1850’s: “To aid and advance by all legitimate means the aspirations and endeavors of the Irish people for complete and absolute Independence promoting peace and unity for All Ireland.” We are the oldest and one of the largest groups in the Irish Diaspora and we have always supported Irish Freedom..

  • We have supported Irish Nationalism since our inception in the middle 1800's and welcomed Irish immigrants to our shores, many of them victims of that colonial abuse
  • We supported the Fenians and most of the early leaders of the Order were Fenians as well as soldiers in the United States Army during the U.S. Civil War.
  • The AOH pledged an artillery battery for a rising in Ireland in 1865
  • We were strong supporters of Michael Davitt and the Land League
  • The members formed an Irish Ambulance Fund in response to the Boer War in 1900 and members went to Africa.
  • A small group of Irish-Americans participated in the 1916 Rising and most were Hibernians.
  • The 5,000 strong Hibernian Rifles were ready to go to Ireland if the 1916 conflict had continued.
  • We have lobbied our Government in the United States throughout our history to work for Irish Freedom (The AOH actually helped send representatives for Ireland to the peace negotiations in Paris, with President Wilson, after WWI because the British would not allow the Irish representatives to be present).
    We have supported the Nationalist/Republican Movement throughout the "Troubles":
  • We supported the Irish Civil Rights Movement in the late 1960's
  • We have supported refugees from the violence in the USA from the beginning
  • We helped to expose the truth about Bloody Sunday in 1972 and right up to the present.
  • In 1982 we presented an A.O.H. Resolution to the families of all Ten Irish-Republicans Heroes who died on Hunger Strike at a ceremony in Belfast. Every last family was present to receive their copy.
  • Our members have supported and continue to support the families of Irish-Republican prisoners.
  • Every year since the 1970's money has been raised for the families or those groups that support them up until today. We now distribute funds at the Felons Club in Belfast and the AOH Hall in Derry to various groups on the weekend of the Bloody Sunday Commemoration each year
  • We have contributed money and other support to the Pat Finucane Center and Relatives for Justice so that they can continue their work to expose collusion and the unchanged nature of the RUC/PSNI
  • Our leadership meets with Irish Nationalists and Republicans who come to the United States and indeed sponsors them both with local divisions and on a state as well as national level.
  • We recently helped host both the Pat Finucane Center and Relatives for Justice on visits to the USA
  • On a recent visit to Ireland we met with the Nuala O'Loan, Father Aidan Troy, visited the Pat Finucane Center, and Claire O'Reilly was kind enough to make appointments for us to meet with several families who were victims of collusion through Relatives for Justice.
  • We have supported the children and people of Holy Cross and Ardoyne during that horrible display of ignorance by Loyalist mobs at the Girl's School and continue to do so.
  • Our greatest contribution toward a United Ireland is to continue to pressure our own government to act and see the nationalist side of the conflict in Ireland.
  • We work with other Irish-American groups to advance the cause of Irish Freedom in the USA
  • We work with our political representatives on Irish Nationalist issues
  • We meet regularly with the US State Department to keep them aware of our views
  • We strive to educate our politicians and candidates on issues of Irish Freedom

As you might know, many other Irish-American lobby groups have their roots in the AOH. Every AOH in America Board and Division has a very active Freedom for All Ireland Officer. There are many other contributions but even I'm tiring of this and I feel our point is made.

We know that Mr. Wallace feels that we don't do enough and some of our members would agree (while others as you might imagine) think we do too much. A Forum like The Blanket allows us to post our thoughts as Richard posted his and that means both education and thought to take place.

Most of our members are strong supporters of the Peace Process and a solution through political action. Many of your writers do not feel this is the best way. We may disagree on methods or indeed effort but we're sure that we agree on one thought. In the near future there will be a Free Ireland with Equality, Peace, and Justice for all of its citizens. That is the bottom line for all of us.

In the end we are an Irish-American Order that promotes Irish Freedom, Irish Culture, and the Irish Catholic Faith as well as freedom of religion in every country.

 



 

 

 

 

 

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All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
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Index: Current Articles



24 August 2004

Other Articles From This Issue:

Loughall - A Truth to Remain Untold
Anthony McIntyre

Ancient Order of Hibernians in America
Ned McGinley

The Harp New-strung: Music in Ireland
Seaghán Ó Murchú

There's a Uniform that's Hanging...
Kathleen O Halloran

Understanding the raison d'être for the armed struggle
Mick Hall

More on Captain Kelly Campaign
Report sent in By Fionnbarra Ó Dochartaigh

The North's Future Depends on Tony Blair's Bravery
Paul A. Fitzsimmons

Standing With RSF
Sean O Lubaigh

Genetic Contamination of Mexican Maize
Toni Solo

The Letters page has been updated.


19 August 2004

Rathenraw Threat
Anthony McIntyre

Troubled Waters
John Kennedy

International Conference Misled by Sinn Fein
Francie Mackey

Rearming the Provos with Picket Signs
Marty Egan

AOH USA
Richard Wallace

Fionnbarr Ó Dochartaigh and the Captain Kelly Campaign
Liam O Comain

Imperfect Peace: Terence O'Neill's Day Has Come
Anthony McIntyre

 

 

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