Albany, New York March 14, 20014
Hank McGrath, a seasoned human rights advocate and NYS Liason for the Irish Freedom Committee, a non profit humanitarian, educational and charitable support organization for families of political prisoners in Ireland, received an official denial from the Ancient Order of Hibernians in Albany, NY and the St. Patricks Parade Committee in Albany, NY on Thursday which accused McGrath and the IFC of being supporters of the IRA (Irish Republican Army – as the reason for denial.
McGrath, who properly filed a letter of notice and an application through www.albanystpatricksdayparade.com in February , knew something was amiss when he did not receive any responses or confirmations to their application or correspondence for weeks until just 28 hours before the parade and in response to Mr. McGrath’s urgent inquiry when he received a phone call from a member of AOH and the Albany St. Patrick’s Parade Committee, Mr. Carey (451-9099), who told him apologetically that there was no room to fit the 5 member and one banner team in the already established line for the parade. McGrath was assured the denial had absolutely nothing to do with IFC and was simply a matter of Albany politics controlling the parade. Two hours later, McGrath received a curt email from Ray McDermott, acting Chair of the AOH Division 5 Freedom For All Ireland Committee accusing McGrath and the Irish Freedom Committee (www.facebook.com/IrishFreedomCommittee) of being involved with and supporters of the IRA (Irish Republican Army) and therefore banned from participation in the AlbanySt. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday, March 15th.
“It was shocking to be first lied to by the parade committee in Albany and then wrongly accused by an alleged Catholic based organization that, evidently, controls the parade committee and the entire denial is based upon a political point of view as to why one can or cannot march in the parade,” McGrath said.
The Irish Freedom Committee marchers consisted of several families with children and friends of McGrath who innocently anticipated marching for peace and to end the suffering like unjust internment, forced strip searches and torture of prisoners in Ireland. Their participation was based upon a humanitarian belief and they were denied based upon the AOH political beliefs.
“This denial shows the inner working of an organization (AOH) which clearly encourages a continued division and conflict in the struggle for freedom of Northern Ireland and a unified Ireland. People should not be denied participation simply because they are not Democrat or are not black or not thinking the way you on the parade committee want everyone to think. AOH does not have a monopoly on fighting for freedom and the oppressed. As well, the parade committee exists under the pretense of organizing the parade fairly and not as a political body that screens participants minds and political leanings ,” McGrath said.
The letter of denial from AOH and the parade committee clearly shows the reason for denial is based upon the political beliefs of AOH and for no other reason. As well, Mr. McGrath has the voice message left by a Mr. Carey (?) (518) 451-9099 of the parade committee( couple hours before the AOH denial email) which clearly attempts to cover up the actual reason for the denial of IFC marching in the parade.
Here are the entire contents of the letter for denial from AOH:On Thursday, March 13, 2014 5:58 PM, Ray McDermott <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
My name is Ray McDermott. I am the acting chair for AOH Division 5 Freedom For All Ireland Committee and I would like to respond to your response to not being accepted into our line of march.
Simply put, AOH FFAI is a staunch supporter of the 1998 Belfast Agreement, and of the peace process and of Sinn Fein. Now, the last I knew, the Irish Freedom Committee which you are a member, is not a supporter of the 1998 Belfast Agreement, or the peace process or Sinn Fein….you are a staunch supporter of 32CSM, which for all intents and purposes is tied directly to the Real IRA.
Both organizations want a unified 32 county Ireland with peace, freedom and justice. No argument. But we certainly believe in two very different roads to get there. For that reason alone, we prefer to march under only one banner. Our banner. And we have certainly earned the right to do so.
You may disagree, and I’m sure you do, but if we are going to throw a little bit of honesty and good faith into the mix, I think it stands to reason we march our separate ways.
With all due respect!
AOH Division 5
Richard Wallace of the Irish Freedom Committee released this statement in response to the AOH parade denial :
“Speaking on behalf of the Irish Freedom Committee, Inc., the IFC is not affiliated with any foreign principal in any way shape or form. For Ray McDermott, FFAI Chair, AOH Division 5, Albany NY, to state to Hank McGrath, VOP-FreedomRadio, in denying the IFC a position in the St. Patrick Day parade in Albany, NY …..”you are a staunch supporter of 32CSM, which for all intents and purposes is tied directly to the Real IRA.”….reeks of Agent Provocateur attempting to blacken the good reputation of the Irish Freedom Committee of America. Mr. Ray you have told a very big lie. No group is more tied to the IRA than Sinn Fein.
The Irish Freedom Committee ®™ is a humanitarian organization concerned with the welfare of the families of Irish political prisoners held in British and Irish jails, mostly on Irish soil. We publicize the atrocities of the British Military occupation of 6 counties of the North of Ireland. Ulster has 9 Counties by the way. We do this with press releases, demonstrations in front of Embassies, and by participating in St. Patrick day parades around the country. We also have a “write to a prisoner” champagne and send cards at Christmas. The IFC supports a 32 County Nation of Ireland, free of British molestation and interference.
For Ray McDermott to state that the IFC supports or is in any way connected to the Irish Army is a blatant attempt to criminalize the Irish Freedom Committee of America. Mr. Ray McDermott goes on to say…. AOH FFAI is a staunch supporter of the 1998 Belfast Agreement, and of the peace process and of Sinn Fein…”AOH FFAI is a staunch supporter of the 1998 Belfast Agreement, and the peace process and of Sinn Fein”… which is to openly admit AOH FFAI that the AOH ….“is prepared to administer British Rule in Ireland…”. And it is a further admission that Ray McDermott supports the organization that morphed out of the IRA. No group is more branded with the IRA than Sinn Fein. If that is the position of the AOH then stop trying to ride on the IFC wagon by claiming ”…both organizations want a unified 32 county Ireland with peace, freedom and justice.” Sinn Fein is a British Government agency working to maintain British Rule in Ireland and dedicated to the suppression of the Civil and Human Rights of the Irish People to live in peace on their own soil. Ireland has never waged war against another country, but claims every right to wage war against transgressors of Irish soil who are in there to claim Ireland and Irish Oil as their own property. Why Irish Oil you may ask? Because Scottish Oil is nearly depleted and that is why the British are in Ireland.
Wake up sleeping Irish. Sinn Fein has accepted British Rule over Ireland and apparently, so has the Ancient Order of the Hibernians under Ray McDermott’s watch. They have paired up with the only Foreign Power with a 1000 year history of extermination of the Celtic people of Ireland, Wales and Scotland. Shame on AOH if that is their position. Perhaps it is time for the AOH to re-think association with Ray McDermott.”
In the meantime, McGrath will continue to educate the public on the sole basis of education here in NYS and abroad on the struggle of an occupied Ireland – to end unjust internment, forced strip searches and unmerciful beatings, systematized child abuse and so on . Visit the Irish Freedom Committee on Facebook and give your support.