AOH National President Judge James McKay from Louisiana, (second from left front row) will be passing the presidential gavel to his successor, Danny O’Connell of Ohio, who is seated on his immediate left. Photo by John O’Connell.
By Ray O’Hanlon
The participants in the very first Ancient Order of Hibernians National Convention would have been familiar with the shape and form of the 99th convention, that being a gathering of members from around the country in a designated city.
They would have been utterly flummoxed by the 100th convention being held this week in, well, everywhere.
This landmark national convention is a virtual affair, though the order’s National Board is present together in one place, the campus of Youngstown State University in Youngstown, Ohio, home base of incoming national president, Danny O’Connell.
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According to outgoing national president, Judge James J. McKay, the convention has been a “challenging” proposition given current circumstance but by way of technology hundreds of members from around the United States are lined up to take part in various zoom sessions.
Also speaking to the virtual conventioneers will be Irish Ambassador to the United States Dan Mulhall, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald, and others based in Ireland.
The convention was due to take place in Orlando, Florida, but that physical gathering had to be shelved due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Ladies AOH was also due to gather in Orlando but, again, it was decided to convene virtually and LAOH convention business was conducted separately to the men some days ago.
Incoming AOH National President Danny O’Connell will be installed for his two-year term on Saturday, as will other national officers.
The traditional culmination of the convention, a members’ Mass, will also be relayed online on Saturday evening.