New York guests and their Tyrone hosts at the recent gathering in Dungannon.
By Irish Echo Staff
Members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians in County Tyrone have honored New York State and Suffolk County AOH for the existence and preservation of the Thomas Clarke/Kathleen Daly Clarke memorial in Manorville, Long Island.
The honors were bestowed at a special ceremony in Clarke’s hometown of Dungannon.
Tyrone AOH County President Gerry McGeough presented plaques to New York State Secretary John Manning, and Freedom for all Ireland Chairman Martin Galvin in an event co-hosted by the Thomas Clarke Gaelic Football Club at O’Neill Park.
The visiting New Yorkers, on behalf of AOH NY State President Victor Vogel, presented a signed copy of the 1918 Irish Freedom Mandate measure passed by the New York State legislature,
Said Gerry McGeough during the ceremony: “Tyrone AOH is fully aware and deeply appreciative of the work done across the United States and particularly in New York State by the AOH, most recently the 1918 Irish Freedom Mandate.
“We do not often get the chance to thank you directly. Tyrone is especially proud that Thomas Clarke was a Tyrone man and a Dungannon man.
“We learned of the beautiful memorial that New York State AOH and Suffolk County have erected at his American home site. We wanted to give special recognition to you and are grateful to your State President Victor Vogel, and to you for coming and accepting these awards.
“County Tyrone AOH continues to grow, helped by groups like the Thomas Clarke Gaelic Football Club, here with us today, and the efforts of the AOH in America.”
New York AOH State Secretary John Manning said in reply: “On behalf of the New York State Ancient Order of Hibernians and representing our state president, Vic Vogel, we are deeply grateful to County Tyrone AOH and the Thomas Clarke Gaelic Football Club for honoring us with these presentations.
“As an organization that cherishes Irish history and is deeply committed to freedom for all Ireland, we take pride that in addition to being a Tyrone man and a Dungannon man, the great patriot Thomas Clarke was also an American citizen, who lived in Brooklyn and Manorville in Suffolk County New York before returning to Ireland and beginning the work of organizing and leading the Easter Rising of 1916.
“The memorial to him at his home site in Suffolk County, and the many commemorations we hold across the state and across America, reflect our continuing commitment to see Thomas Clarke’s county and all of the six counties get the national freedom and sovereignty he and the other Easter Week leaders proclaimed and pledged in 1916.
“These awards will be carried back and displayed in a special place of honor in our AOH halls and be a sign of further cooperation between us. Our state president, Victor Vogel, has asked me to convey a message that he hopes to visit you soon.”
Martin Galvin, New York State Freedom for all Ireland chairman, presented a copy of the New York State legislature’s measure honoring the centenary of Ireland’s 1918 Mandate for Freedom to Michael Corrigan, chairman of the Thomas Clarke GFC, who hosted the ceremony.
Galvin said: “It is very special for us as New York Hibernians to receive recognition in Ireland. One of the main objectives of the AOH in America is to promote freedom for all Ireland. This year we will mark the centenary of the all-Ireland vote where the Irish people voted an overwhelming mandate for freedom for a thirty-two county all-Ireland parliament, or Dáil Eireann, and for the 1916 Rising.
“Tragically Britain answered this democratic vote for freedom with military oppression, sectarianism and partition, and the price paid here in Tyrone and across the six counties. It never again permitted one all-Ireland vote.
“New York State AOH wishes to present you with a copy of the Irish Freedom Mandate Resolution, bearing the seal of the New York State Senate and Assembly, as a token of our continuing commitment and efforts throughout the year to support your right to freedom for all of Ireland.”
Michael Corrigan accepted the mandate and announced that it would be permanently displayed in the Museum Room of the stadium alongside a framed handwritten letter written by Thomas Clarke while in prison, along with other historical items.
Other dignitaries at the gathering included Dungannon Historian Bertie Foley, GAA official Art McCrory, Ladies AOH officers Michelle Robbins and Catherine Sewell, and Sperrin mountains environmental campaign activist Martin Tracey.
Following the ceremony, Martin Galvin attended a meeting hosted by Mark Thompson of Relatives for Justice at its Dungannon office.
Representatives of a number of victims’ families attended.
Mr. Thompson and the families briefed Mr. Galvin on the newly published legacy consultation document made public by the British government.
According to a release, “family after family talked about the delays, stonewalling and deceit which they have suffered over decades in trying to get justice.
“These tactics have made these victims deeply worried over what will emerge from new legacy structures. They were also deeply encouraged by the congressional initiative and new awakening stemming from the Mark Thompson’s emergency tour hosted by the New York State AOH earlier this year.”