National AOH President Brendan Moore has said there is frustration among his 80,000 members about the continuing stand-off and negative publicity over the New York parade and the gay marching issue.
Moore points out that the AOH no longer runs the parade yet continues to receive criticism over events surrounding it.They ended their association several years ago for fear of legal entanglement.
The parade is run by the New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, unaffiliated with the Hibernians, he pointed out.
He stated that he believes Parade Chairman John Dunleavy is no longer an active Hibernian.
He stated that AOH members outside New York were frustrated at how their organization was being portrayed.
“We are an American-wide organization, the largest Irish group in the U.S.," he stated. “Many of our members in places outside New York really don’t want to focus all the attention on this stand-off in New York. They feel there is much more to the Hibernians story.”
“While it is a big deal to people in New York national Hibernians don’t look at it that way,”
Moore, who lives in New York, said the success story of the AOH in recent years has been partly subsumed in the parade controversy. Several thousand are expected at their biannual conference in St.Louis this summer.
He said new chapters in Fort Worth and Austin in Texas and in Dubuque, Iowa in recent months confirmed that the organization was going from strength to strength. He said there were 2,300 Hibernians now active in Texas with 1,200 women AOH members also.
“That is the message we want to spread,” he said. The AOH is strong and is fighting on important issues such as the dreadful stereotyping of the Irish on St.Patrick’s Day and on immigration reform and the resolution of the peace process in Northern Ireland.”
The organization recently led a successful effort to get Bed, Bath and Beyond to stop selling anti-Irish products and have organized a national campaign against Spencer’s stores on the same issue.
“We have much to do,” said Moore,”Those are our priorities.”