Madigan Muses: Ohio Hibernian State Convention

By Marilyn Madigan

Hibernians from across Ohio met in Cincinnati on the last weekend of June. The business of our respected orders was conducted by AOH State President and LAOH Teresa Harris.

This was a historic gathering, since both National Presidents were in attendance and honored to call Ohio their home. In addition, for the first time in our history, a brother and sister were elected to lead our Orders for the next two years.

Congratulations to Bob and Teresa for all their dedication and commitment to the Ohio Hibernians. We look forward to working with AOH State President Denny Parks and LAOH State President Nicky Parks Norris.

Congratulations to Bob and Teresa for all their dedication and commitment to the Ohio Hibernians. We look forward to working with AOH State President Denny Parks and LAOH State President Nicky Parks Norris.

Ohio was honored to also have Rose Conway Walsh TD from Mayo in attendance. She addressed the Freedom for All Ireland Committee Meeting of the LAOH. The LAOH shared with her our recently published book: Trasna na dTonnta – Across the Waves Women’s Reflection on the Good Friday Agreement, featuring women on both sides of the Atlantic that were advocates for peace and social justice issues in the North of Ireland. This was a collaborative project with Relatives for Justice.

She also addressed the AOH at their meeting and was the featured speaker at the dinner. Friends of Sinn Fein also recorded a Conversation between Rose and AOH National President Danny O’Connell. Rose Conway Walsh has visited Cleveland, Ohio on many occasions; it was great to be able to speak with her. I shared with her the Statement on Legacy that the LAOH recently issued. She immediately requested that the statement be shared with the Oreachtas Committee on the Good Friday Agreement.

“The Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, Inc. joins with victim’s groups, international human rights groups, and all parties on the island of Ireland in opposition to the Northern Ireland Legacy Justice Bill. This bill, which was pushed forward without regard for human rights or victims’ rights, will close the door on inquests and other mechanisms of justice for victims and survivors and grant amnesty for those accused of killing or seriously injuring victims.

We stand firmly with victims and survivors who are patiently awaiting coroner inquests, ombudsman investigations and other legal avenues to uncover the truth. The Good Friday Agreement asserts their right to seek justice, and the Stormont House Agreement set forth those steps to get the truth.

This bill effectively removes all rights and access to justice for victims, further victimizing survivors while exonerating those responsible for the crimes.”

Micheál Martin, Ireland’s Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defense stated, “We have fundamental concerns about the legislation currently before parliament. We don’t believe it is compliant with the European Convention on Human Rights.

“We applaud the position of the Irish Government as they stand beside these families in opposition, and we take solace in knowing that should the legislation pass; Ireland can bring a case to the European Court of Human Rights. We call on the British government to listen to those opposed to this bill, the human rights groups, civic leaders and most importantly, the victims and survivors who were affected from all sides of the conflict who have called for the legislation to be scrapped.”

As I write this column during the week that we celebrate our country’s independence, I am hopeful that during my lifetime we will see a United Ireland. In conclusion, I would ask all our readers no matter what religion to join the LAOH in reciting this Prayer for Irish Unity, written by one of our members, Virginia Ellen Hess:

“Heavenly Father, as we gather here today, Ireland’s exiled children in America, we pray for Irish Unity.  Though Ireland, the land of saints and scholars, has suffered 800 years of oppression, her people have endured because of their faith and the strength of their spirit. 

“We celebrate the natural beauty of our homeland, from the rolling hills of Connemara to the rugged Cliffs of Moher, to the streets of Dublin, and we pray that this beauty will one day be a symbol of our unity.

“We ask that you bless the efforts of those who seek to unite Ireland. Strengthen the resolve of those who fight for justice and open the hearts and minds of those who would impede it.  Through your grace and mercy, may Ireland be transformed into a land of peace, justice and equality, a nation once again. We ask this through our savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.”

*Marilyn Madigan is the National President of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians and a Deputy Director of the United Irish Societies of Cleveland. She received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from St. John College and retired from Nursing at University Hospitals of Cleveland.

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