Ireland 2030

Madigan Muses: These Historic Times

I am writing this article on International Women’s Day and reflecting on women who have made a difference. This quote describes those women: “You can’t spell Hero without Her.”

April is a very historic month in Irish History. Let us first remember the Women of 1916. Most of us think about Constance Markievicz, but she was only one of many unsung heroes from that period of Irish history.

Elizabeth O’Farrell stood next to Padraic Pearse at the surrender, but you could only see her feet. Dr. Kathleen Lynn ministered to the wounded, and after 1916, founded a children’s hospital in Dublin.

Margaret Skinnider, who was wounded in the conflict, had to fight to be recognized as a soldier to receive a Military Pension. These are only the tip of the iceberg of the women who have taken on roles in making Ireland what it is today.

Last April, we commemorated the 25th Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. The Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians were quoted, “As we commemorate the Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, we remember all the advocates for peace and justice on both sides of the Atlantic. We especially recognize the impact of the women in the North of Ireland for their dedication and commitment to peace and justice issues. Their advocacy is making peace a reality for their children and grandchildren.”

Relatives for Justice
The Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians Inc. (LAOH) were honored to collaborate with Relatives for Justice on a special project to commemorate the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. The publication of 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 publication will be one that historians will value in their research on this period of Irish History. Women need to be remembered in their role in history.

On March 1, seven Irish American organizations collaborated on the Irish Unity Summit, held at the Cooper Union in New York City. What a historic event for Irish America.

I was honored to speak at the recent Irish Unity Summit. Here is the speech:
“I am privileged and honored to address you today as the National President of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians. The Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians is the largest Irish Women’s organization in the United States. For the past one hundred and thirty years, we have been committed to Ireland and Irish causes.

“In the Preamble of our Constitution, we state that one of our purposes is to aid and advance by all legitimate means, the aspirations, and endeavors of the Irish people to achieve complete and absolute Independence. Today’s event is a historic day in the history of Irish America as we gather at this Irish Unity Summit.

“We will hear about how we can be a part of the journey to a new and united Ireland.  There have been conversations about Irish Unity all over the island of Ireland. Now it is our time to be a part of that conversation.

“The leadership of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians have spoken up over the last century for this important goal of a united Ireland. Our early leaders spoke before a Congressional Committee on the Irish question before they even had the right to vote. Today our members continue to speak up.

“I would like to quote our early leaders and as the current president echoes their words. Past president Ellen Ryan Jolly: “We are here in liberty’s name. We are here to ask the Congress of the United States to pass a resolution whose purpose is to permit Ireland, the oldest of the nations, to light the torch of Irish National Independence.”

Good Friday Agreement
“The Good Friday Agreement over a hundred years after Jolly spoke before the Congressional Committee provides for what she stated: “The resolutions before you provide that self-determination shall be given to the people of Ireland; that they shall finally and for all time decide for themselves the system of government under which they shall live.’ The widespread conviction in America is that the doctrine of self-determination shall be applied to the Irish question.

“Now to the question of Irish Unity:
Adelia Christy (another Clevelander) stated: “We ask Mr. Chairman, only for a free Ireland. We ask that in conjunction with all the other small nations, Ireland may be allowed to work out her own development, to look after her own interests and to be governed and directed by a government of her own people.” That is what we are asking for today, that the people on the island of Ireland determine the future of a new and united Ireland.

“We will take away from this Irish Unity Summit many ideas of how we as individuals and members of our organizations can take the next steps to make Irish unity a reality if that is the wishes of the people of Ireland, both North and South.

In conclusion, again I echo the words of our early leaders, “the dreams of the Hibernians of early days may be realized.

They dreamed and hoped for an independent Ireland. We shall never hope for less. By Unity, Friendship and Christian Charity, we may win that which to the faint hearted may seem impossible, the privilege of celebrating very soon a St. Patrick’s Day upon the holy soil of an independent and United Ireland.”On this International Women’s Day, the voters of Ireland will be going to the polls to vote on a referendum to remove a decades old clause, “women in the home,” in the Irish Constitution. This Article 41.2 is from 1937 and does not reflect Ireland today. Hopefully in the not too distant future, there will be a referendum on Irish unity.

A civic organization, Ireland’s Future, is planning ahead for the possibility of a referendum by 2030. Please become part of this historic journey.

Irish America has a role. Keep up to date by visiting Ireland’s Future at and the Friends of Sinn Fein

The Irish Unity Summit is available to view on the Friends of Sinn Fein YouTube channel:

Sinn Fein

Find this and other Madigan Muses columns HERE!

Marilyn Madigan

Marilyn Madigan

*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 Sciences in Nursing from St. John College and retired from nursing at University Hospitals of Cleveland

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