President’s Message: “On Moving Forward”

By the time you receive this edition of the Hibernian Digest we will be well into 2013, but I still want to wish you a Happy and Healthy New Year on behalf of your National Board.

As 2012 drew to a close, much of the focus was on Northern Ireland issues. While Britain’s Da Silva Report into the decades-ago assassination of attorney Patrick Finucane clearly pointed to security forces colluding with loyalist paramilitaries, there was an obvious attempt to avoid any hint that such collusion had been sanctioned by the higher/ highest reaches of the British government. In addition, the AOH continued its official opposition to the exercise of subpoena power in support of British security forces’ efforts to make available Boston College’s confidential interviews with individuals associated
with pre-Agreement hostilities in the North. This misuse of the provisions of the U.S.-U.K. Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) has prompted the AOH to join with the Irish American Unity Conference and the Brehon Law Society in filing an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court. (The case is being pursued by The Hastings Group on a pro bono basis.) On another front, our National Political Education Chairman, Joe Roche, coordinated with our National Freedom For All Ireland Chairman, Sean Pender, to renew the AOH campaign to encourage all levels of government in the U.S. to endorse the “Resolution For a United Ireland.” An explanation of the purpose and procedures was outlined in a letter to division presidents.

Division Presidents. Please be sure that your Annual Assessment and Annual Report have been forwarded to National Secretary Tom McNabb.

State Presidents, Please be sure that all requested information on upcoming state conventions has been sent to National Vice President Jim McKay.

You are both witnessing and performing miracles with the help and the hope you provide to others! As I got myself together for a demanding travel day very early on the morning of Saturday, December 15, I felt I couldn’t and shouldn’t leave the house without first forwarding an email to express the shock and regret of our National Board to Connecticut State President William Flannery, less than twenty-four hours after the tragic invasion of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. Members of our Storm Relief Committee (Seamus Boyle, Jere Cole, Chip McLean, Dan Dennehy) along with Hibernian Charity’s Secretary Ed Dougherty (We needed him to sign the checks!), were on the road with me to distribute checks from your many generous AOH-LAOH donations. The stop in Long Beach (Nassau County) was followed by Rockaway (Queens), Gerritsen Beach (Brooklyn), and finally Forked River, New Jersey. The only AOH hall in New York City is in Gerritsen Beach. Essentially it is the frame that now remains, but despite this it was being used as a supply and coordination point for relief and repair. It was there that I met the Connecticut State President (whom I emailed earlier), the New
York State President, and the New York County President, in addition to many Hibernians from Queens, Saratoga, Albany, and elsewhere. They were giving their weekend in an effort to tear down to later build up. They brought hope with them and so did your generous and desperately needed checks!

This is what YOU have accomplished:
• “We would like to take this opportunity to express a sincere thank you for all the help you have given not only to us, but all victims of Superstorm Sandy. The generous gifts of cleaning supplies, generators, gas, volunteers, and money to help the clean-up and rebuilding of homes will never be forgotten. There is a long road ahead for many, but with your continued love, support, and prayers we will all be back to normal some day.” (Family of Brooklyn County President Jim Sullivan)
• “My family and I send our heartfelt thanks to you for the disaster relief assistance provided to us. It could not have come at a better time. It is deeply appreciated.” (Blessinger Family of Long Beach)
• “Thank you for supporting our corporation’s recovery efforts due to Hurricane Sandy. Brendan, this February I will celebrate my 62nd year as a member of this organization and I was never so proud of being a Hibernian as I was this past Saturday.” (Al O’Hagan, Corporation President, AOH Hall in Gerritsen Beach)
Donations, Applications for Assistance, Additional Miracles still being accepted!

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