This letter kicks off the 2009 AOH/LAOH Christmas appeal. As the political and social landscape of the North of Ireland has changed over the years so has our appeal. Ourorder can be proud that we have always been there to support not only with our voices but with our funds those who fought for and sacrificed so much for a united Ireland. In the last several years our focus and support has become more focused on truth and justice initiatives. To further clarify our role, President Boyle appointed a committee chaired by Vice President Moore that included the late Dave Burke, NJ State President Jere Cole, AOH director Danny O’Connell and myself. Earlier this year we met and discussed the appeal and made our recommendations. Toa man we all agreed that the fact of the matter is that the Christmas Appeal is not just another request for donations coming from the National Board, instead, it is part of OUR direct pursuit of this organization’s longstanding commitment to a united 32 County Ireland. Along those lines in addition to supporting long standing Republican groups the appeal will provide support for charities/agencies that promote truth andjustice initiatives, cross-community opportunities, reconciliation efforts, and attempts to regularize the U.S. status of all former Irish Republicans.
In 2009 among those that we supported were: Pat Finucane Center-Derry and Newry, Holy Cross Ardoyne Trust-North Belfast, Coiste na n Iarchimi-Belfast, Relatives for Justice-Belfast and Dungannon, St Patrick’s Centre-Downpatrick, Omagh Basketball Club, Cairde – Tyrone,The Bloody Sunday Families and the David Ervine Trust Belfast. All of the work that these groups do falls well within the guidelines the committee set.
Truth and Justice Initiatives
The Bloody Sunday families, Relatives for Justice (RFJ) and the Pat Finucane Center (PFC) constantly are seeking justice for the families, victims and survivors of British state violence and collusion during the troubles. Remarkably the families of Bloody Sunday are now 3 8 years from justice. While theirs may be one of the best known stories of the troubles there are hundreds more. RFJ and PFC both work tirelessly on behalf of those that were lost, injured or wronged. The commitment of the staff and members of these organizationsis remarkable as is the dignityof the people they work for.
Cross Community and reconciliation efforts:
The Omagh basketball team is a cross community basketball league that Pennsylvania AOH member Earnonn Daly has been instrumental in running. In Belfast the Holy Cross Trust and David Ervine Trust represent both sides of the community looking to build on reconciliationefforts and a better future for all the citizens of the North.
Attempts to remlarize the U.S. status of all former Irish Republicans.
We have had discussions with Thar Saile the US group whose mission is to achieve a permanent solution to the immigration issues facing the formerIrish Republican Political Prisoners residing within the United States. These men have faced deportationand extradition from the U.S. and the goal of Thar Saile is to obtain a collective resolution for all of their cases. The McAllister Family justice campaign also continues to seek a successful conclusion for their struggle to stay in our country.
For those that have so consistently support4 the Appeal thank you for yourlong timebacking, we hope we can once again count on your support. For those that have not a $100 donation by each division would make for a very successful Appeal. Again this year dl boards or divisions that support the fund by making a donation of $1000 or more will receive a personalizedIrish hurling stick with the name of their division or board. Once again we request not only the support of divisions and boards but that individual’s join the $10 club by making a $1 0 donationto their FFAI chairman. Details included in this packet.
Christmas Appeal “One Island, One Ireland” shirts are available at www.aoh.com All proceeds will go to appeal.
Raffle tickets for the Gerry Adams autographed hurling stick also still available, proceeds to be donated to Twinbrook Belfast Irish speaking school in memory of Dave Burke. Tickets are $5; drawing October 31st.
Finally the date for this years Bloody Sunday remembrance march has been set for Sunday January 3 lSt.This year we will be sponsoring a week long trip thru the North for the week of Bloody Sunday from Friday January 29 thru Friday February 5th details included. Limited availability.
Christmas Appeal donations and Bloody Sunday trip down payments should be sent to Sean Pender 13 Scullin Dr. Yardville NJ 08620. I can also be reached at (609) 462 7056