Mark Thompson speaking during an AOH event in 2019
By Irish Echo Staff
The Ancient Order of Hibernians has announced that "Plastic Justice," a special report from Relatives for Justice on how British state forces used plastic bullets to kill 17 innocent Irish people with impunity, will get a transatlantic launch on Saturday, October 24.
Relatives for Justice Director Mark Thompson, who will be in Belfast, will be joined by victims' relatives Frances Meehan, (sister of Michael Donnelly) and Mark Kelly, (brother of Carol Ann Kelly).
The Ancient Order of Hibernians and Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians will co-host the launch on a virtual webinar broadcast,with Hibernians across the United States, led by National Presidents Danny O'Connell and Karen Keane, joining live.
The transatlantic launch will begin at 4 p.m. in Ireland, 11 a.m. in New York and in the rest of the eastern time zone.
Said a statement on behalf of the AOH/LAOH delivered by Freedom for All Ireland Chair, Martin Galvin: "Plastic Justice is key chapter in the story of British repression. This groundbreaking report will highlight political and legal strategies used by the British to deny truth and real justice to victims' families, such as treating victims as criminals or rioters to justify murders and intimidate witnesses.
"Crucial documents and files are systematically withheld. Inquests or legacy investigations which could shed light on these murders are arbitrarily denied. Not one British trooper or Royal Ulster Constabulary member was ever found guilty for any of these 17 killings, even where victims were children. Both Frances Meehan and Mark Kelly will speak about their personal experiences, fighting for justice.
"The report and speakers are also expected to highlight how deadly plastic bullets were used to intimidate public demonstrations of political support on issues like the Blanket Protest and Hunger Strikes of 1980 and 1981 or Internment Day protests.
"The AOH and LAOH feel privileged to be invited to be a part of this launch. Britain's broken promises on issues like legacy justice and Brexit have sparked a growing realization that Irish America must be actively engaged if we are to see Britain move on legacy issues including 'Plastic Justice.'
"There is a growing demand to hear speakers from Ireland on these issues. Health restrictions may block us from bringing speakers to America, but new technologies mean this transatlantic launch will be joined by Hibernians across the United States.
"As someone who was present for one of the killings covered in this report, that of John Downes on August 12, 1984, and have personally witnessed the continuing cover-up of 'plastic justice' meted out to the Downes family, I know this launch will be a moving and important event."
View Live at: www.youtube.com/AncientOrderOfHibernians