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McGuinness to address Hibernian convention

By Ray O'Hanlon

The Ancient Order of Hibernians, convening in Cincinnati, Ohio, this week for their 95th Biennial National Convention, will be electing national leaders and discussing a range of tops of interest to, and effecting their order.

But in what promises to be a standout moment in the history of recent conventions, the delegates, members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, will be afforded a special thank you for the order's years of work on behalf of the struggle for peace and justice in Northern Ireland.

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Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, on his first visit to the United States since the recent release of the Saville inquiry's report into Bloody Sunday, will deliver the opening address at the convention on Thursday, July 8.

"I welcome this opportunity to convey the gratitude of my community to the AOH and LAOH for the decades of support which they provided to the Bloody Sunday campaign during the long fight by the families to set the truth free," McGuinness said in Derry before departing for America.

"I am also looking forward to the opportunity where I will be able to thank the various branches of the AOH/LAOH for their important contribution to and their continuing efforts in raising the issue of Irish Unity in America and soliciting support for its achievement right across the country," McGuinness added.

That effort has manifested itself in the passing of resolutions in support of a united Ireland at city and state level in recent months.

The most recent elected body to pass such a resolution is the New York State Senate which, just days ago, unanimously adopted a "United Ireland Resolution."

The resolution was sponsored by Senator George Maziarz of Niagara County and was co-sponsored by 11 other senators from around the Empire State.

The resolution, certain to be applauded in Cincinnati, called on the New York Senate to "pause in its deliberations to

consider the unification of Northern Ireland with the Republic of Ireland, and express its sense that Irish Americans can make a significant contribution toward achieving the goal of Irish reunification."

The resolution stated that copies of it (the resolution) be "transmitted to the President and Vice-President of the United States, the Majority and Minority Leader of the United States Senate, the Speaker and Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives, and every member of Congress elected from this State.

Additionally, copies are to be sent to "The New York State President of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the National President of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, The Ambassador for the Republic of Ireland, and the Ambassador for the United Kingdom."

The aforementioned AOH National President, Seamus Boyle, is seeking his second two year term of office at the convention. He is running unopposed.

In addition, there will be elections for all of the national offices and there will also be a vote to decide the site for the 2014 convention. The various votes are to be held on Saturday, July 11. The convention is running from the 7th until the 11th.