New York Hibernians are convening today at the Adam’s Mark Hotel in Buffalo.
By Ray O’Hanlon
The Ancient Order of Hibernians is urging members of the U.S. Congress to signal their rejection of President Trump’s proposed free trade deal with Britain until the British government details a “workable plan to protect the people of the island of Ireland from disproportionately bearing the adverse consequences of Brexit.”
In a strongly worded release, AOH National Political Education Chairman, Neil F. Cosgrove, said the proposed trade deal was a U.S. funded subsidy to the “ill-considered decision to pursue Brexit, a decision which the communities of Northern Ireland rejected by 55.8%.”
The release came as New York Hibernians were gathering for the 99th New York State AOH Biennial Convention, and the 60th LAOH Biennial Convention, at the Adam’s Mark Hotel in Buffalo.
The convention runs three days, July 12-15.
Cosgrave, in the statement, said that while the government of British Prime Minister Theresa May had offered a Brexit “Plan for Britain,” her government had yet to offer a substantive plan for Northern Ireland.
“Specifically, Ms. May’s government has repeatedly failed to address the issue of a post Brexit hard border dividing the people of the island of Ireland.
“The free movement of the people of Ireland is elemental to the U.S. brokered Good Friday Agreement. A further partitioning of Ireland behind a border, both physical and psychological, is a major threat to the progress made towards a lasting peace over the past two decades.”
The Hibernian statement added that a Brexit plan for Northern Ireland “cannot be a victim of political procrastination as the implementation of so many provisions of the Good Friday Agreement have been.”
Such provisions included a bill of human rights for the people of Northern Ireland, resolution with justice of the legacy issues of the past, and support for those who wish to express their identity through the Irish language.
The statement continued: “The two year countdown clock to Brexit has already begun; the peace and prosperity of the community of Northern Ireland deserves better than Ms. May’s doublespeak to make mitigating the draconian implications of Brexit to Northern Ireland ‘a priority to deliver a practical solution as soon as we can.’
“’As soon as we can’” is now,” the AOH statement said.
And it concluded: “The Good Friday Agreement is historically and morally far more important than any ‘massive trade deal.’
“The Good Friday Agreement is a seminal example of U.S. leadership in the cause of peace and justice, bringing to an end proportionately one of the deadliest conflicts in human history.
“This landmark of U.S. leadership and the peace and prosperity of the people of Northern Ireland must not be sacrificed, aided and abetted by a U.S. trade deal.
“The AOH, therefore, calls on all members of the U.S. Congress to indicate their opposition to a new U.S./Britain trade deal until Britain details a plan to protect the Good Friday Agreement and the people of Northern Ireland from being a collateral casualty of Brexit.”