35 members of the AOH, key members of America's oldest and largest Irish organization drawn from a dozen states, visit Belfast, Derry, Tyrone, and Dublin.
A 35 member delegation of Hibernians led by AOH National President Jim McKay and LAOH National President Carol Sheyer is currently on a fact-finding visit to Belfast, Derry, Tyrone, and Dublin. Those on the visit include key members of America's oldest and largest Irish organization drawn from a dozen states.
On Sunday the delegation met a border community group and attended a vigil for murdered civil rights lawyer Pat Finucane. On Monday they supported families of the Ballymurphy Massacre victims at Laganside Court and attended the morning inquest session.
On Tuesday the delegation visited Ballymurphy and scenes of the massacre for review of the inquest testimony with campaign members. They also toured the Republican plot at Milltown Cemetery with Joe Austin of National Graves.
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The delegation will arrive in Derry on Wednesday afternoon for a presentation at the George McBrearty mural in Creggan. Kevin Hasson of the Bogside Artists will explain the import of political murals and art in Derry.
With members of the McBrearty family hosting, there will be a talk on McBrearty's life as an example of what Republican commemorations and murals represent to people in the city. The delegation will then walk to the Mickey Devine Mural where former H-Block blanketman Tony O'Hara will discuss his personal recollections of his brother Patsy O'Hara's death on hunger strike, while several other former blanketmen will talk about the lasting political legacy of the hunger strikes and the fight against British criminalization. The group is also due to meet with civil rights leader and author Eamon McCann.
Thursday will begin with a tour of the Guildhall followed by a reception with Derry Mayor John Boyle, who has invited all political groups on the council to be represented at a question and answer session, expected to include issues like Brexit, differences in party strategies for Irish reunification, and what Derry representatives would like to see the AOH do.
Thursday afternoon at the Museum of Free Derry, the American delegation will hear presentations on Bloody Sunday's continuing legacy by John Kelly and today's legacy and justice issues by Paul O'Connor of the Pat Finucane Center.
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The first stop in Tyrone on Friday will be the historic Mass Rock and a controversial gold mine site in the Sperrin Mountains hosted by Tyrone AOH. The delegation will then visit the Republican Garden of Remembrance at Carrickmore.
At the Battery Bar Ardboe, the Americans will see the site where U.S. citizen Liam Ryan was murdered by off duty members of the British Army's Ulster Defense Regiment in 1989, get a report about the investigation conducted into the case by Relatives for Justice and hear from family members of other collision victims killed with the same rifle.
The delegation will spend its final two days in Dublin, participating in a 1916 Easter Rising and 1919 Dail walking tour with Lorcan Collins, and an evening with author and historian Ruan O'Donnell at Pearse House on Sunday before Monday events at Leinster House hosted by Senator Billy Lawless and closing events at Iveagh House.
“The American AOH is committed to aid the achievement of Freedom for all Ireland. Members of this delegation from across the United States are inspired by those across the north who will never give up on getting their right to freedom from British rule and injustice,” AOH Freedom for All Ireland chair Martin Galvin stated before the trip.
"We are visiting to meet politicians, civil rights leaders, justice groups, prominent Republicans and cultural figures so we can bring the facts back to America and do more to support those still denied justice and freedom."