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Rockland Hibernians name St. Patrick’s honorees

Pictured (l-r): Parade honorees Fergal Hayes, Frank McDonagh, Sergeant Deirdre Smith-Withers, and Lillian Murphy.


By Irish Echo Staff

In a sign that spring is not far away, the Rockland County, NY, Ancient Order of Hibernians have announced their slate of honorees for their 58th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade to be held on March 22, in Pearl River.

The parade, stated a release from organizers, is widely regarded as the second largest in New York State after the New York City parade.

Leading the Rockland County St. Patrick’s Day Parade as Grand Marshal will be Frank McDonagh. Mr. McDonagh is a 25-year resident of Pearl River. He retired as an NYPD Detective, Second Grade after 23 years of distinguished service and later was a fraud investigator for Geico.

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McDonagh, added the release, is an active member of the Pearl River Division III Ancient Order of Hibernians and has been the organizer for the annual transportation of WWII veterans in classic cars as part of the Pearl River St. Patrick’s Day parade.

The Rockland County Aide to Grand Marshal is Lillian Murphy. Ms. Murphy is a former county president for the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians. She has been actively involved in the Rockland St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, Feis Committee, Emerald Ball Committee, and during the Superstorm Sandy relief effort.

Hibernian of the Year is Fergal Hayes. A native of County Clare, Mr. Hayes is well known in the Irish community for his dedication and promotion of Irish music and culture.

2020 Rockland Hibernian Businessperson honors go to Edmund Hartnett.

Mr. Harnett served 27 years with the NYPD and is a former Police Commissioner in Yonkers, across the Hudson from Pearl River in Westchester County.

Hartnett is a former President of Brosnan Risk Consultants and now provides consulting services and business development strategies to numerous clients as Edmund Hartnett Risk Management.

The 2020 Rockland St. Patrick’s Day Parade Commander is Sergeant Deirdre Smith-Withers. Sergeant Smith-Withers has served the citizens of Suffern for twenty-two years and is a recipient of the 2005 Rockland County PBA Medal of Valor.

The honorees will be formally introduced at the Rockland County Emerald Ball, the traditional start of St. Patrick’s Day and Irish American Heritage Month in Rockland.

The ball will be held on Saturday, February 22nd at the Pearl River Hilton in Pearl River. That date, as it happens, is George Washington’s birthday.

Tickets and additional information on the Rockland County AOH website at