Donnybrook and an Irish American Car Cruise

By John Myers

A spirited group shared their support for a United Ireland, American Style, with the first annual “American Cruise for a United Ireland” in Cleveland’s West Park neighborhood.  A beautiful fall day presented the backdrop to advocate for a United Ireland as we near the UK Brexit withdrawal date of New Year’s Eve, 2020. 

Bart Leneghan holds the flag with Irish Northern Aid members Kathleen Whitford and Neil Garrity

Come 2021, the UK will be formerly out of the EU and drag the Six Counties in the North of Ireland with them.  Irish Supporters need the US government to be clear that it is unacceptable for the UK to force the Six Counties, where a majority voted to stay in the EU, to leave the EU. 

Nowhere in the world is there an open border absent a trade treaty in place; this unilateral UK action will likely mean a return of a “hard” border between the North of Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, causing great economic and political disruption.  It will also put at risk the 1998 Good Friday Peace Agreement. 

Thanks to all who supported the Cruise, including Irish Northern Aid and Cleveland Hibernians. 

This fall marks the 175th Anniversary of American Abolitionist Frederick Douglass’ trip to Ireland.  In 1845, Douglass had just published his autobiography and his supporters were very concerned that his recent notoriety would make it more likely that bounty hunters would be able to track him down in Boston and drag him back to his slave owner in Maryland.   

Douglass “got out of town” for what was to be a brief speaking tour in Great Britain and Ireland.  As is the case with many visitors to Ireland, Douglass was scheduled for a few days in Ireland, but ended staying for over four months. 

It was on this journey that he met the “Liberator of Ireland,” Daniel O’Connell, who led the fight for Catholics to be able to vote in the UK and for the repeal of Union between Ireland and the UK.  O’Connell introduced Douglass at one of his large mass meetings in Dublin to speak to the Irish crowd. 

O’Connell was a well-known anti-slavery advocate as well.  The Irish trip transformed the young Fredrick Douglass’ into the world renown leader he became.  Douglass wrote at the time:

“I can truly say, I have spent some of the happiest moments of my life since landing in this country (Ireland), I seem to have undergone a transformation, I live a new life.”

American Catlin John is only the 3rd American to win the Irish Open.  The fall classic was played at Galgorm Golf Resort in Ballymeena, Co. Antrim.  John edged out Irisher’s Padraig Harrington and Shane Lowry.  Ironically, NI native Rory McIlroy stayed in the US due to pandemic travel challenges. 

BLOODY SUNDAY    It has been almost fifty years since the events known as Bloody Sunday, and still no justice has been achieved for the thirteen innocent civilians who were murdered in the streets of Derry and fifteen injured by British troops.  To add insult and injury to the cause for peace and reconciliation, The Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland recently announced that there would be no further charges related to Bloody Sunday. 

Currently only one soldier, Soldier “F,” has been charged with any violation and that trial has not yet been adjudicated. The lack of further action lends support to those nationalists who believe that justice will never be served by any government of the Crown. 

This failure to proceed with the investigation further erodes confidence that the extent of British violations of human rights in the North of Ireland will never reach the light of day.   Families of the victims will ask the High Court in Belfast to review the Prosecution’s failure to act in the hope that these thirteen state sponsored murders shall not be swept under the rung, that these thirteen lives matter. 

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