By Ray O’Hanlon
Describing "American pressure on the British now critical,” Mark Thompson, head of the rights group Relatives for Justice is in the U.S. this week for what organizers are describing emergency tour seeking vital American help to break the deadlock and get justice for legacy victims' families.
His weeklong tour coincides with the resignation of Northern Ireland Secretary of State James Brokenshire, and the one year anniversary of the collapse of the Stormont Assembly.
Mr. Thompson will appeal for American help at five public events, and in meetings with elected officials.
Over the past quarter-century, Thompson and Relatives for Justice have fought for the victims killed by British crown forces and their loyalist criminal agents where there seemed no chance for justice, said a release from tour organizer, Martin Galvin.
“Recently, Mark Thompson and Relatives For Justice filed a formal complaint to the Police Ombudsman on behalf of the family of American citizen, long time Bronx resident, and respected member of New York's Irish community, Liam Ryan, murdered two years after purchasing the Battery Bar in his native Tyrone,” Galvin said.
Mr. Thompson’s tour, initially organized by the Ancient Order of Hibernians, is now being supported by a growing number of Irish American justice groups, said the release.
Mr. Thompson's first public address will take place on Wednesday January 10 at the Suffolk County AOH Division 2 Hall, 27 Locust Avenue, Babylon, at 8 p.m. It is being hosted by New York State AOH President Victor Vogel.
On Thursday January 11, Mr. Thompson will speak at Wolfe Tone’s Irish Pub, 37 East 29th Street in Manhattan between 6 and 9 p.m. There is a suggested donation of $25.
On Friday, January 12, he will be in Rockland County at Hibernian House, 28 Railroad Avenue, Pearl River beginning at7 p.m.
Mr. Thompson will be in Albany on Saturday January 13 to speak at the AOH Hall, 375 Ontario Avenue.
At this gathering, said the release, the prestigious Fr. Murphy award will be presented to Ciaran Geraghty, Past New York State AOH Freedom For All Ireland Committee Chairman.
Mr. Thompson's final public event will be at the Quiet Man Pub on Sunday January 14. This is at 15 North Division Street in Peekskill. The event begins at 3 p.m. and will be hosted by AOH National Board member, Dan Dennehy.