This Just In: Hibernians to Present Freedom Grants

Edited by John O’Brien 

A 25 member delegation of Hibernians, have arrived in Ireland for a fact-finding mission that will include stops across the six counties and key political meetings in Dublin. The delegation, which includes National President Danny O’Connell, Vice-President Sean Pender and other senior Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) members, will also present nearly $150,000 in Freedom for all Ireland grants from the Houben Centre located on the grounds of Holy Cross Church Ardoyne on Sunday February 18th.

The presentations will feature 19 grant recipients speaking to Hibernians across the United States, about each group's work and how much they count on American help.

The webinar broadcast will begin at 9am Eastern Time and 2 pm in Ireland and will be available on Youtube or Zoom.

Once again the presentation of Freedom for all Ireland grants will be made at the symbolic Houben Centre, on the grounds of Holy Cross, Ardoyne, where 20 years ago Catholic girls were subjected to a vicious campaign of sectarian abuse on their way to attend the primary school. The Houben Centre has been a major recipient of FFAI Christmas Appeal support.

This year grants were again awarded to two iconic justice campaigns, the Ballymurphy Massacre Campaign, and Bloody Sunday Trust, which continue their fifty year campaigns. Groups fighting for legacy truth were led by Relatives for Justice and the Witness Project. EALU was awarded a grant for its work with Republican ex-political prisoners in Tyrone.

A heritage grant was awarded to the St.Patrick Centre, in Armagh. Cross-community grants will be presented to the Omagh Choir and Bridges Beyond Boxing.

Belfast National Graves and Tyrone National Graves were awarded grants, for their work in preserving the memorials to Irish patriots.

Ireland’s Future will receive a grant for its work in obtaining a referendum on Irish reunification. The Bogside Artists, Martin McGuinness Foundation, Conway Mill, Green Cross, Duchas-Oriall, Greater New Lodge Commemoration Committee, and the O’Neill Allsop Memorial Band will also be grant recipients.

The FFAI mission will spend its final two days in Dublin, where it will meet senior Irish party leaders and Irish government officials.

AOH Freedom-for -all-Ireland Chair Martin Galvin noted: “The AOH has played a leading role in the fight against the British amnesty cover-up. We intend to continue that role and a key part of the visit will be meetings with Irish victims, campaigns, lawyers and Irish officials to plan how Irish America can support the fight for legacy justice as the battle moves to the European Court.

“We will be presenting nearly $150,000 in freedom grants to groups to help their work for freedom for all Ireland. This visit and the webinar broadcast will allow our members and others across the United States see and hear directly from recipients about how much they count on America.

“Finally Irish America has a crucial role in forcing the British to allow a vote for Irish reunification. We will be meeting with groups like Ireland’s Future and speaking to Irish officials in order to plan our strategy to help make that referendum happen”

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