Some of the AOH and LAOH members who gathered in Albany for the unveiling of “Ireland’s 1918 Freedom Mandate” resolutions by the State Senate and Assembly. Photo by John O’Connell.
By Irish Echo Staff
Getting Albany politicians to agree on an issue is a tough assignment, but the Ancient Order of Hibernians managed to do just that last week in securing State Senate and State Assembly resolutions honoring “Ireland’s 1918 Freedom Mandate,” itself a salute to the convening of the first Dáil a hundred years ago.
And the gathering of Hibernians in the New York State capital was just the latest manifestation of a recent surge in Irish America’s commitment to encouraging progress in Northern Ireland twenty years after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, and in the face of the deep uncertainty posed by Brexit.
Members of the AOH and Ladies AOH converged on Albany on Tuesday, April 24th, that date being the calendar anniversary for Easter Monday in 1916.
The Hibernians – the order marks its 182nd anniversary this week – were led by New York State President Vic Vogel and Ladies State President Jacqueline Clute.
The Senate and Assembly events were preceded a celebration at the Albany AOH Hall, where Senator Phil Boyle presented a framed copy of the State Senate resolution, of which he was the sponsor, to both AOH presidents.
Also among the AOH delegation, which numbered around a hundred members, were National Secretary Karen Keane, New York State Secretary John Manning, Hibernian Digest Editor John O’Connell, New York State Treasurer Regina Begley, past presidents Jim Burke, Tim McSweeney, and Chip McLean, and Freedom For All Ireland Chairs Dolores Desch and Martin Galvin (see Galvin letter, Page 10).
Also in the delegation were New York State Vice President Tom Lambert, National Directors Dan Dennehy and Liam McNabb, and LAOH state officers Joann Gunderson and Cathie Doherty.
Politicians who rolled out the green carpet in addition to Senator Boyle, who is a Hibernian, included Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Assembly resolution sponsor, Michael Cusick.
Assemblyman Cusick said that the legislature had honored the centenary of 1916 and should not forget that, in 1918, Ireland had voted for a free Irish parliament.
State President Vogel thanked Senator Boyle and Assemblyman Cusick, all the senators and Assembly members who voted for Irish resolutions, and those AOH-LAOH members who had lobbied for their support.
LAOH FFAI chair, Dolores Desch, spoke of the 1918 Irish election in which women were allowed to vote, and in which Sinn Féin had campaigned on a platform of national freedom as proclaimed in 1916.