This month’s issues updates has crucial issues like Ballymurphy Inquest, Loughinisland Journalists being arrested , DUP attitudes to Stormont.
Our National VP and Secretary will be meeting with the Ballymurphy Families this month to show American support and get a briefing.
We are expanding Carmel Quinn’s tour to include Philadelphia, New Jersey and other cities. to give AOH members the latest info.
There will be an informal meeting to get suggestions on the FFAI Christmas Appeal on Sunday September 9th at 2pm.
You can send ideas via email.
FFAI ISSUES UPDATE
A- Retaliatory arrests of NO STONE UNTURNED filmmakers
Trevor Birney, and Barry McCaffrey, whose thrilling documentary film exposed collusion and cover-up in the Loughinisland murders, were arrested in retaliation. Just before the 1994 ceasefire, patrons watching Ireland play Italy in World Cup soccer were marked for death. Six were murdered and others wounded. Items containing DNA, including the getaway car, weapons, and clothing were recovered. A gunman’s wife posted a letter and made an anonymous call to the constabulary naming the murderers. Her voice gave away her identity, since she worked for the RUC. The film title, NO STONE UNTURNED, quoted an RUC member who pledged no stone would be unturned in the search for loyalist killers. It became a term of scorn for families who saw no killers charged, despite massive evidence, because the loyalist criminals were protected as British agents. The families turned to investigative journalists and ombudsman Michael Maguire. The filmmakers found and filmed one of the killers. The AOH FFAI noted “these arrests say it is ‘NO STONE UNTURNED’ when it comes to going after journalists who reveal truths the crown wants kept hidden.” Families also turned to filmmakers about the Ballymurphy Massacre and collusion killings. These arrests send a chilling message that the crown will go after press and filmmakers who embarrass them. The two men were released but documents were seized and the threat of prosecution hangs over them. The pretext for the arrests seems to be that they “stole” items which they explain in the film were sent to them anonymously. The action came weeks after Constabulary Chief George Hamilton was welcomed to the West Belfast Feile. As Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin comes to Washington, on September 12-14,lawyer Niall Murphy wants the AOH to brief Congressmen to raise this issue.
B- British trash investigations on Ballymurphy Inquest eve
With the Ballymurphy Massacre Inquest set to begin on September 10th, past and current British commanders began rubbishing any legacy investigations of British crown or collusion killings as a “witch-hunt”, “macabre charade” or” legacy scandal”. They are timed to discredit the Ballymurphy families who have waited 47 years for truth and justice. After the first Internment raids, Paratroopers barracked in Ballymurphy came out and opened fire without warning. A Catholic priest, waving a white handkerchief, Fr. Hugh Mullan, nineteen year old Francis Quinn, mother of 8 children, Joan Connolly, were shot dead going to wounded victims. Daniel Teggart, felled by a bullet to the leg, was shot a total of 14 times. Noel Philips was shot dead that first night. Joseph Murphy was wounded, taken into custody and shot a second time inside the barracks before his death. Edward Doherty, John Laverty, Joseph Corr and John McKerr were murdered over the next two days. An eleventh murder victim, Paddy McCarthy, died of a heart attack, when troopers placed an empty gun inside his mouth in mock execution. British Royal Military Police whitewashed troopers making the dead guilty. With the Inquest set to begin September 10th, British Army Commander Nick Carter proclaimed that British Troops in the north had done a “remarkable job”, were “chased by people making vexatious claims” but “that will not happen on his watch.”Former British commander Bramhall wrote that the Britain “must by whatever means put a stop to this “macabre charade.” Colonel Tim Collins, wrote in the first in a series of “STOP THE LEGACY SCANDAL” essays in the BELFAST NEWSLETTER that almost all British crown forces “shootings were within their legal duty.” Why are British Army commanders so worried about the verdicts and findings of their own British courts and judges?
C- DUP will not budge on Irish language act says Foster
Almost 600 days after the collapse of power-sharing, former First Minister Arlene Foster said her DUP party would never accept an Irish language act, which was “non-negotiable”. Foster and the DUP also staged a “Sinn Fein end the boycott” protest in front of Stormont, demanding that nationalists return, while talks on outstanding issues take place. It is unclear how any talks could progress, if main issues are “non-negotiable”. Ironically Foster’s red-lining of an Irish language act follows Sinn Fein removing its redline over Foster as First Minister. The late Martin McGuinness resigned on January 9,2017 over Foster’s refusal to stand aside while her Renewable Heat Initiative(RHI) “money to burn” scandal was under investigation. Foster blames approval of a 500 million pound plan paying a profit to burn fuel, on her advisors. This scandal is under an ongoing public inquiry. In February 2017,Gerry Adams of Sinn Fein said power-sharing with the DUP had been ten years of “deliberate provocation, arrogance and disrespect.” Talks earlier this year ended in a Valentine’s Day breakup after the DUP reneged on a deal for an Irish language act coupled with Ulster Scots and an overriding Respecting Languages Bill.
D- Unionist fury at Limerick Hurlers’ song
Unionists were outraged that Limerick hurlers sang Sean South of Garryowen at Croke Park, while celebrating their All-Ireland victory. They did not watch the match or post-match singing live. Apparently video of the spontaneous celebration was distributed online by Unionist groups, to get complaints. The song, by the Wolfe Tones about the 1957 IRA attack on Brookborough Barracks, includes the lyrics “And the leader was a Limerick man- Sean South of Garryowen”. The incident came weeks after outrage at the Wolfe Tones singing Celtic Symphony at the West Belfast Feile or Festival. Unionists feel entitled to parade and play Orange songs a everywhere in the six counties then dictate that Republican songs not be sung anywhere in Ireland.
FFAI NATIONAL COMMITTEE APPOINTMENTS
In order to do the work of being “the voice of the Irish in America” on FFAI across the country, our national leaders have directed formation of a National FFAI Committee. This committee is tasked with being the major information resource for members and Divisions on FFAI issues. The initial appointments by our National President and officers were made in early August, however since then, I received several other requests and recommendations and we are looking to expand the National Committee in the near future. The initial appointments are:
1-Past National President and Former FFAI Chair Brendan Moore, for overall experience and guidance;
2-Jim McLaughlin- of Virginia whose location allows him to assist anytime we go to Washington, as well as coordinate in the south.
3-Gerry McHale-Philadelphia is a current state FFAI Chair in the key FFAI state of Pennsylvania;
4-Sean O’Dowd in Chicago will be working throughout the Midwest.
5-Malachy McAllister-in New Jersey and overall help with political, publicity and fundraising initiatives.
BALLYMUPHY MASSACRE CALL TO ACTION
The voice of the Irish in America must be heard in support of the Ballymurphy Massacre families and their fight for justice. National Vice-President Danny O’Connell and Secretary Jere Cole will be in Belfast to meet the families and to show AOH support. Carmel Quinn, whose brother John Laverty was murdered by British Paratroops is coming to us to give the AOH an up to the minute report on the inquest. This tour has been expanded to take in Philadelphia, New Jersey, and other locations. We also want show the British that American Congressmen and Senators are watching. During the Ballymurphy Massacre Tour we will be circulating a draft sign -on letter for Congressmen expressing concerns of their constituents and notifying the British they will monitor the evidence and verdict.
REMEMBERING IRISH PATRIOTS WITH PRIDE
Ruan O’Donnell, of Limerick University will give the Hibernian Lecture at Notre Dame: “America and the Irish Revolution 1916-22” on September 21st at 4:30 pm at McKenna Hall. Professor O’Donnell says that our work for FFAI is part of a long history and without America no part of Ireland would be free! It is open to everyone.
James McGlashin will speak at the Robert Emmet Statue, 1700 24th street NW Washington DC on September 30th at 11:30am.
Please contact me at MGALVINESQ@AOL.COM.