Sunday, December 30, 2012

Hobby Lobby to Defy Obamacare Mandate
Todd Starnes - Dec 29, 2012
The owners of Hobby Lobby face $1.3 million in daily fines after they decided to obey God rather than the federal government – refusing to comply with Obamacare’s contraception mandate.
The act of defiance came one day after Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor denied Hobby Lobby’s emergency request to block enforcement of the mandate, but said the company may continue its appeal in lower courts.
Hobby Lobby is a national arts and crafts chain. They own more than 500 stores in 41 states.
The company is owned by the Green family, devout, evangelical Christians. They believe “it is by God’s grace and provision that Hobby Lobby has endured” and they seek to honor God by operating their company in a manner consistent with Biblical principles.”
The family believes the Obamacare mandate to provide the morning-after and week-after pills is a violation of their religious convictions.“To remain true to their faith, it is not their intention as a company, to pay for abortion-inducing drugs,” Becket Fund attorney Kyle Duncan wrote in a statement.
Duncan said the company would continue to provide health insurance for its employees while they fight the government in court.
But on Jan. 1, Hobby Lobby will face a $1.3 million daily fine if they don’t comply with Obamacare.
“The Green family respects the religious convictions of all Americans, including those who do not agree with them,” the Becket Fund said in a statement. “All they are asking is for the government to give them the same respect by not forcing them to violate their religious beliefs.”There are now 42 separate lawsuits changing the mandate, the Becket Fund said.
Conservatives praised Hobby Lobby for standing by their convictions.
“God bless this company,” columnist Michelle Malkin told Fox News. “It’s incumbent upon every conservative who believes in freedom of religion and freedom of conscience to support those businesses that are standing up and taking the slings and arrows of this discriminatory administration.”
“This is the most egregious violation of religious liberty that I have ever seen,” wrote columnist Denny Burk. “The first line of the Bill of Rights says this: ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.’ Obamacare prohibits the free exercise of the owners of Hobby Lobby. Who’s next?”Conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham said President Obama “must step in to stop this madness.”
“It turns out as many feared, the president’s religious exemption to the contraception mandate is so narrow as to be meaningless,” she said on Fox News. “Unless you employ and serve only those of your same religious faith you don’t receive an exemption. So under that standard, Jesus himself would not qualify. This is unconscionable and unconstitutional.”
Abortion supporters hailed Sotomayor’s ruling.
“I hope the government earmarks every cent of that fee money for Planned Parenthood, just to spite these ass****,” wrote one reader on the Jezebel website.
“Anyway, I’m all for Hobby Lobby (and all other organizations that think birth control is totes gross) ignoring the law,” wrote Erin Gloria Ryan in a column titled, “Whore Pill-Hating Hobby Lobby Will Have to Pay a Buttload of Fines for Ignoring Obamacare.”
The website Think Progress said Hobby Lobby is ignoring two points.
“First, that Plan B is not an abortion-inducing drug, as Hobby Lobby claims, and second, that the company may well end up paying more to avoid covering contraception than they would simply providing access,” the website reported. “It also takes a twisted view on the ‘Freedom of Religion’ argument; the company is actually forcing its owner’s religious beliefs on all employees, no matter their personal religious views.”
Ingraham pointed out that in a previous case Sotomayor ruled in favor of a Muslim inmate who was denied Ramadan meals. She held that the meal was subjectively important to the inmate’s practice of Islam.
Malkin called it a selective double standard.
“Religious liberty for some, none for others,” she said.
This is a followup to a previous message on this most important violation of rights guaranteed us as American citizens in our Bill of Rights. The Obama administration, the U.S. Congress, or anybody else has no authority to unilaterally deny us those precious rights to practice our religion as we see fit without interference by the government. Any American citizen who holds our guarantees under the Bill of Rights precious should stand solidly behind the courageous stand taken by the Green Family and anyone else willing to oppose any and all attempts to infringe upon our right, as Americans, to freely express and practice our individual religious beliefs. 
Jack Meehan, Past National President
Ancient Order of Hibernians in America
Knights of Columbus - 4th Degree

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Supreme Court denies Hobby Lobby request for reprieve from health care mandate
Published December 26, 2012 -
The Supreme Court has denied a request by Hobby Lobby to shield the company from the so-called contraceptive mandate while its legal battle plays out, after a federal court last week similarly ruled against the Christian-owned company.
The lower court had earlier refused to protect the company from an ObamaCare-tied requirement to provide contraceptive coverage, and the fines that come with it for not complying.
CEO David Green, who had taken his case to the appeals court after losing in a lower-court ruling, had argued that his family would have to either "violate their faith by covering abortion-causing drugs or be exposed to severe penalties."
The Supreme Court's latest ruling is not on the underlying merits of the mandate itself -- it simply denies the company's request for an injunction while legal battle on the merits plays out. There are currently more than 40 cases pending against that rule.
The mandate requires businesses and organizations, with some exceptions, to provide access to contraception coverage -- Hobby Lobby was most concerned about coverage for the morning-after pill, which some consider tantamount to an abortion-causing drug. Hobby Lobby has refused to comply, while saying the fines could add up to $1.3 million a day.In its earlier ruling, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals said the company did not prove the rule would "substantially burden" its religious freedom. Though the mandate has exemptions for religious entities like churches, the lower court ruled that Hobby Lobby is not a religious group.
The company, founded in 1972, has more than 13,000 full-time employees across more than 500 stores.
This is a very strong indication that the final decision by the U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately be in favor of the implementation of the very controversial clause in the Affordable Care Act which requires all employers to pay for free access to contraceptive devices. Although the clause is vehemently opposed by all anti-abortion groups, it remains an integral part of the Obama administration’s health care legislation. Such a ruling is a sad testimonial to the constant erosion of our right of freedom to practice our religion that is guaranteed us under the U.S. Constitution. If this can happen to our right to freely practice our religion as we see fit, one can’t help wondering which of the rights that we have come to take for granted in America will be the next to come under attack. We are headed down a very slippery slope when we stand by and do nothing while our precious  constitutional rights are infringed upon.
Jack Meehan, Past National President
Ancient Order of Hibernians in America
Knights of Columbus - 4th Degree

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Obama’s uncle wins new bid to stay in US
He gets new hearing, immigration lawyers surprised
Boston Globe Staff Writer - 4 December 2012
President Obama’s uncle has won a new deportation hearing in Boston immigration court, more than a year after a drunk-driving arrest in Framingham revealed that he had violated a longstanding order to return to Kenya.
Last week, the Board of ­Immigration Appeals granted Onyango Obama’s request to ­reopen his immigration case based in part on his contention that his prior lawyer was ­ineffective, according to a government official with direct knowledge of the case. Obama’s new lawyers have also argued that the 68-year-old Obama has lived in the United States for nearly half a century and ­deserves a chance to make his case.
Brian P. Hale — spokesman for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which is prosecuting the deportation — confirmed that the board has reopened the case but declined to elaborate.
The board’s decision raised eyebrows among immi­gration lawyers who say it is difficult to persuade the immi­gration courts to reconsider a case that involves an arrest and a flagrant violation of a depor­tation order, last issued in 1992.
Framingham police arrested Obama for drunken driving in August 2011 and he later admit­ted in court that prosecutors had sufficient facts to bring the charge against him. But the drunk driving charge will be dismissed as long as he complies with terms of his sentence, including a year of probation that ends in March.
“With an outstanding order and a legally fuzzy plea, it’s pretty unusual for the board to reopen” an immigration case, said Crystal Williams, executive director of the Washington-based American Immigration Lawyers Association. “It’s not unheard of, but it’s pretty ­unusual.”
Scott Bratton, one of Obama’s lawyers at the Margaret Wong law firm in Cleveland, said Monday night, “We are obviously extremely pleased with the board’s decision. This will allow him to pursue his application for permanent resident status.”
Lauren Alder Reid, the courts’ chief counsel for legislative and public affairs, said she could not comment on the immi­gration case or say when a hearing would be scheduled because case information is generally protected by federal privacy provisions, unless the immigrant or his representative ­authorizes its release.
Because immigration court records are generally closed to the public, it is unclear what evi­dence the board reviewed to support Obama’s claim that his lawyer was ineffective. The government official who provided the reasons behind the board’s decision spoke on condition of anonymity because that person was not authorized to speak to reporters.
However, prior immigration judges’ rulings in Obama’s case obtained by the Globe under the Freedom of Information Act show that the Board of Immigration Appeals criticized his lawyer, Joseph F. O’Neil, in 1992 for failing to file a legal brief to support Obama’s ­appeal.
About a year ago, Obama’s  Auntie Zetuni received permission to remain in the U.S. and to stay in subsidized public housing while she applied for permanent residency status even though she was living here in an undocumented status. Now, we have Uncle Onyango being granted a new hearing on his case even though he has been living here for “nearly a half century in an undocumented status and has ignored a court issued deportation order since 1992”. The most recent charge against Uncle Onyango is drunken driving, a felonious charge not a simple immigration violation.
It is nothing short of an abomination that these types of “special favors” can be given to relatives of powerful politicians while other persons who are living here in the same unenviable immigration status are being subjected to apprehension, detention for long periods in prisons with hardened criminals, and eventually deported for the most insignificant of misdemeanors most of which are related to their immigration status and are not felonies in the eyes of the law.
The unfortunate people caught up in these situations are also barred from legal re-entry to the United States for ten years. What is wrong with this picture?
Jack Meehan, Past National President
Ancient Order of Hibernians in America

Friday, November 16, 2012

Michigan Affirmative Action Ban Struck Down By Court
ED WHITE - 11/15/12

DETROIT — Michigan's ban on affirmative action in college admissions was declared unconstitutional Thursday by a deeply divided federal appeals court, six years after state voters said race could not be an issue in choosing students.
In an 8-7 decision, the court said the 2006 amendment to the Michigan Constitution is illegal because it presents an extraordinary burden to opponents who would have to mount their own long, expensive campaign through the ballot box to protect affirmative action.
That burden "undermines the Equal Protection Clause's guarantee that all citizens ought to have equal access to the tools of political change," said Judge R. Guy Cole Jr., writing for the majority at the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.
The court said having supporters and opponents debate affirmative action through the governing boards of each public university would be much fairer than cementing a ban in the constitution, which it referred to as home of "the highest level" of public policy.
The court did not comment on a portion of the amendment that deals with government hiring.
The decision is limited to states in the 6th Circuit, which includes Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee. But it also raises the odds that the U.S. Supreme Court may get involved. A very similar law in California was upheld by a San Francisco-based appeals court, and the Supreme Court could choose to resolve the conflicting decisions of the 9th Circuit and the 6th Circuit on voter-approved bans.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, a supporter of the ban, said he will ask the nation's highest court to take the case.
"Entrance to our great universities must be based upon merit," he said.
George Washington, a Detroit attorney for the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, said the ruling is a "tremendous victory." He predicted the case will move to the Supreme Court.
"What this really means is thousands of blacks and Latinos who would not have had a chance to go to our most selective universities will have the chance to become lawyers, doctors and leaders of all fields," Washington said.
As the college admissions process for 2013 heats up, it wasn't immediately clear what campuses would do in light of the ruling. Officials at the University of Michigan and Michigan State University said they were reading the decision.
At the University of Michigan, 8 percent of undergraduates this fall are black or Hispanic, compared to almost 11 percent in 2008. The number of black female undergraduates is down 27 percent compared to 2008, according to university data.
This is the second time that the appeals court has examined Michigan's affirmative action issue. A three-judge panel last year also found the ban unconstitutional for similar reasons. But after a plea from Schuette, the entire court decided to take a fresh look at the matter, with new filings and arguments leading to the new ruling Thursday.
In a 32-page opinion, the court's majority explained the difficulties that it sees for students under the constitutional amendment. For example, there's nothing barring someone from citing family alumni connections when applying to a college. But the court said a student seeking to use race to influence the admissions process now is shut out unless the constitution is changed again.
"Michigan cannot force those advocating for consideration of racial factors to traverse a more arduous road without violating the Fourteenth Amendment," the court said. "We thus conclude that Proposal 2 reorders the political process in Michigan to place special burdens on minority interests."
In dissent, Judge Danny Boggs said the majority relied on an "extreme extension" of two Supreme Court cases to justify its decision, one in 1969 involving the repeal of a fair housing law in Akron, Ohio, and the other in 1982 involving an effort to stop racial integration in Seattle schools.
"We have the citizens of the entire state establishing a principle that would in general have seemed laudable," Boggs said of Michigan.
Another dissenter, Judge Julia Smith Gibbons, said the will of 58 percent of voters in 2006 has been shredded.
"Michigan has chosen to structure its university system such that politics plays no part in university admissions at all levels. ... The Michigan voters have therefore not restructured the political process in their state by amending their state constitution; they have merely employed it," Gibbons said.
Besides Michigan, six states have banned racial preferences in admissions: Washington, Nebraska, Arizona, New Hampshire, California and Florida. In Texas and Georgia, leading public universities use a race-neutral system, though the University of Texas has maintained some use of affirmative action.
Since a 2003 Supreme Court decision, universities have been allowed to use racial preferences if they choose, though they are not compelled to do so. The court last month heard arguments in a case that could change that precedent. Abigail Fisher, a rejected white applicant, is suing the University of Texas.
There may, possibly, have been some justification to implementing the policy of “Affirmative Action” some thirty years ago when it became law. However, in the intervening years, a program that was originally intended to provide “a level playing field” to all applicants has proven to be colossal failure and has long since exceeded its “shelf life”. Instead, it has afforded college entrance as well as job opportunities and advancement in these areas to incompetent applicants based solely on skin color, sexual orientation, ethnicity, etc. to the detriment of far more qualified applicants. Hopefully, the U.S. Supreme Court will not cave in to political correctness and will rule to “pull the plug” on a program that has, arguably, hurt more people than it has helped.
This is my personal opinion on this issue and it does not necessarily agree with that of the various organizations with which I am associated.
Jack Meehan
Quincy MA.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Knights of Columbus Responds to Hurricane Sandy


In response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, the Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus, in conjunction with local and state councils across the Northeast, is joining relief efforts.

The Supreme Council announced this morning that it is making an immediate $100,000 donation, giving $50,000 each to the state councils of New York and New Jersey to assist in local relief efforts in those hardest-hit jurisdictions.

In addition, the Supreme Council has launched an online donation drive, soliciting contributions from its members and the general public. One hundred percent of the proceeds will go directly to relief efforts in local communities.

“Knights have a long tradition of providing disaster relief,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, “and this is no exception. Our communities need our time, our help, and our financial assistance, and we are going to do all that we can - working closely with our local and state councils - to help those most in need as a result of this storm.”

Thank You!!


To all Brother Hibernians who are also Brother Knights you are a shining example to all other Catholic charitable organizations. Our Lord said: “Whatever you do for the least of My brethren, you also do for Me”. A very sincere “Thank you” from a proud Brother Knight.

Jack Meehan, Past National President

Ancient Order of Hibernians in America

Knights of Columbus – 4th Degree

Friday, October 26, 2012

Is there a new face of atheism in Ireland?

JOE HUMPHREYS – Irish Times – 24 October 2012
The winds of change are blowing through the world of atheism, as it seeks a softening of its ‘Dawkinsian’ attitude to religion and a more inclusive approach
ATHEISTS ARE on the march. Census results published last week showed there was a four-fold increase in the number of people who said they had no religion, or were either atheist or agnostic, between 1991 and 2011, with 277,237 people falling into this category last year. The figures, however, only tell part of the story.
Ireland is seeing the emergence of a newer kind of atheist, who is anxious to dispel the myth that they are all one-dimensional, rabidly anti-religious Dawkinsians.

The winds of change could be seen at last weekend’s AGM of Atheist Ireland, where delegates agreed a new focus on promoting “an ethical society”, engaging in charity work and social justice campaigns, and even collaborating with religious groups on issues of common concern.

Leonie Hilliard, a Dublin-based science graduate who joined the group a year ago, admits, “Some of my friends are quite surprised by the charity aspect.” Atheist Ireland has already raised some money for microfinance projects in Africa under its “Good Without Gods” initiative.

Plans are afoot for a registered charity (one delegate joked that it should be called “a non-prophet organisation”) while members are also being encouraged to take on informal outreach work, such as visiting people in institutions “without preaching”.

Atheism might not have a clearly defined “ethical backbone”, says Hilliard, noting, “atheism is a belief system in the same way that not playing football is a sport.” However, she stresses, it does lend itself to a number of strong moral positions, including a “worldview of not judging people”. She adds: “Most people involved in the atheist movement are compassionate and want to do something good for the community and challenge the idea that it’s all about secularising Ireland.”

Astrid Malachewitz, who is originally from Germany but now lives in Arklow, Co Wicklow, is similarly irked by some Irish misperceptions about atheism. “I don’t think atheism is a negative movement to start with. Belief in God is replaced with belief in science, justice and equality, and that’s a positive thing.”

She admits some Irish atheists are extremely hostile towards the Catholic Church but such bitterness is not universal.
“I am not one of those people who say if you are a religious person you must automatically be evil,” she says. Nor must every interaction with a person of faith be an opportunity for point-scoring. If attending a mass, for example, a funeral, “I don’t kneel, but I went to my nephew’s communion and it was a wonderful day, and it was very important for me to be there.”

While she has never been asked to be a godparent, “as a cultural thing I’d have no problem with it”, and she finds it amusing rather than annoying that Irish people often finish conversations with “God bless”. She puts it down to cultural Catholicism, something she can fully understand: “I feel culturally Lutheran.”
In tone at least, Malachewitz and Hilliard seem to represent a departure from the New Atheists, the sharp-tongued, all-male troupe of writer-activists led by Richard Dawkins. What might be called the newer atheists are not only more diverse but perhaps slower to judge and quicker to turn the spotlight inwards.

Such introspection has triggered no small amount of debate in the atheist movement internationally, a lot of it focused on the issue of gender. Last August, a new online forum, Atheism Plus, or A+, was launched by Jen McCreight, a Seattle-based blogger and secularist. Backed by a number of prominent women atheists, it seeks “a new wave of atheism” aimed at “promoting social justice” and “working against bigotry, hatred and discrimination”.

Her biggest concern is what she sees as deep-rooted misogyny in the atheist community. Whenever she speaks in a light-hearted way about sexual issues, she says she receives obscene propositions, while posts about feminism are usually met with abuse.

Likening atheism to a “boys’ club”, she wrote to fellow secularists: “I don’t feel safe as a woman in this community – and I feel less safe than I do as a woman in science, or a woman in gaming, or hell, as a woman walking down the f***ing sidewalk.”

McCreight was not the first woman to make this complaint. In a notorious incident, dubbed “Elevatorgate”, blogger Rebecca Watson alleged she received an inappropriate late-night proposition in a lift during the World Atheist Convention in Dublin last year. She wrote about the episode online, drawing a critical response from none other than Dawkins, who sarcastically contrasted her situation with the plight of women in Islam.

McCreight spoke on the issue on a visit to Dublin last June, describing Dawkins’s response as “totally inappropriate”. Because atheists “are so hyperrational and hypersceptical”, if a woman among them says she felt harassed, “if you don’t have photographic evidence that it happened, it never happened,” she told an event hosted by Atheist Ireland.

Malachewitz agrees “there is a misogynistic streak” in the broader movement, but stresses, “on the whole I do feel welcome as a woman”. She adds that organisations such as Atheist Ireland have done a lot to combat prejudice, adopting a new policy on diversity and inclusion last year, and speaking out strongly on the issue. Its chairman Michael Nugent says he believes the misogyny identified “is not a specific atheist thing. It’s a societal issue and it’s an online issue. People are willing to say things about each other online that they would not say face-to-face.”

He is also keen to defend Dawkins, saying, “Richard is the opposite of the uncaring dogmatist his critics unfairly caricature him as.” He is, rather, “a sensitive, caring man.”

But what of the new emphasis being placed on ethics as an atheist concern? “I would not see it as a departure,” says Nugent. While there is a “mini-dogma” that says “atheism only means non-belief in gods, in practice we have already moved beyond that.”

Nugent has published a manifesto on “ethical atheism” (it “predates Atheism Plus”, he notes) which “tries to combine the best of our existing ideas into a set of principles”. The manifesto seeks to promote not only “reason, critical thinking and science”, but also “natural compassion and ethics . . . inclusive, caring atheist groups” and “fair and just societies”.

Practising what it preaches, Atheist Ireland has built alliances with human rights, LGBT and women’s groups to campaign on issues such as constitutional reform. It is now hoping to work in partnership with religious campaigners on shared concerns such as blasphemy laws.

“Ideally I would like to see ourselves and various religious groups taking a common stance on people being jailed or persecuted on the basis of belief. Our problems with the blasphemy law in Ireland pale into insignificance compared to problems faced by religious people in Islamic countries.”
In time, such initiatives may help to change the public perception of what it means to be an atheist.

“People feel the word atheist has a stronger assertion that it actually has,” says Nugent. “I think people believe, firstly, atheism means you are claiming with certainty that there are no gods and, secondly, that you are implying your position is unbreakable, whereas every atheist I know will say this is a position based on currently available evidence and we may be mistaken.”

Does this represent a softening of the New Atheist stance? Or are Irish atheists simply becoming better understood? One thing’s for sure, they are no longer the novelty they once were. Malachewitz moved here 12 years ago from a country “where atheism was never a big deal”.

“I realised Ireland had changed when my mother-in-law started quoting Christopher Hitchens.”

ATHEISTS IN IRELAND by the numbers

320 – number of atheists in 1991 census

277,237 – number of people categorised as non-religious in 2011 census (3,905 atheists, 3,521 agnostic and the remainder no religion)

10.5% – percentage of non-religious people in Galway

2.4% – percentage of non-religious people in Monaghan

14:10 – proportion of men to women in non-religious population

56% – proportion of non-religious people with a third-level qualification (compared to national average for such a qualification of 36 per cent)

14,769 – number of non-religious primary-school children

47% – proportion of Irish people who consider themselves religious, as surveyed last year by pollsters affiliated to Win-Gallup International (a drop from 69 per cent in 2005).
Source: Census 2011.

Note: “non-religious” category covers respondents who declared themselves as either atheist or agnostic, or having no religion

Here is more irrefutable evidence that our beloved ancestral homeland is, in fact, making a steady transformation from what was once the most Catholic country in Europe to a predominantly secular one. There are many factors involved in this drastic change, not the least of which is the ever growing rate of emigration from Ireland by native born Irish, the vast majority of whom were born and raised in the Catholic faith. Another factor which cannot be ignored is the wide spread problem of sexual abuse of children by members of the clergy which has caused many Irish Catholics to question their support of the Church and in some cases to abandon it altogether. The steady growth of atheism together with the huge influx of Muslim immigrants to Ireland in recent years, unfortunately, does not bode well for a return to the “faith of our fathers” by lapsed Catholics in the foreseeable future, if ever.

Jack Meehan, Past National President
Ancient Order of Hibernians in America
Knights Of Columbus - 4th Degree

Sunday, October 14, 2012

NI abortion clinic 'will be regulated'

Stormont’s Health Minister Edwin Poots is taking legal advice on how to regulate Ireland’s first private abortion clinic.
Mr Poots vowed that the Marie Stopes Clinic would be monitored in some way when it opens in Belfast on October 18th.
But he revealed he is seeking clarification on whether the role can be taken on by the Regulation Quality and Improvement Authority (RQIA), which already regulates a number of health bodies across the region.
“I think it has to be regulated, but it will be regulated one way or the other, either through the police or ourselves, it will be regulated,” Mr Poots told BBC Northern Ireland’s Sunday Politics.
“But the Department of Health would rather be the organisation, through the RQIA, that’s doing the regulation.
“We will confirm very soon whether that is going to be the case immediately or whether it’s going to take a little longer to put procedures in place.”
The new medical facility at Great Victoria Street in Belfast city centre will be headed by former Progressive Unionist Party MLA Dawn Purvis. It will offer abortions, each costing £450, when it opens next Thursday.
Unlike other parts of the UK the 1967 Abortion Act does not apply in Northern Ireland.
NHS terminations can only be carried out to preserve the life of the mother or if continuing with the pregnancy would seriously adversely impact on her physical or mental health.
There is strict assessment regarding any impact on mental well-being and the woman must consult with two clinicians.
Anti-abortionists including Stormont politicians and church leaders have reacted with fury and claim there is no demand for a private clinic.
However pro-choice campaigners have called for the Irish Government to change the law on abortion after the Marie Stopes charity announced it was opening a private clinic in Belfast.
Rally For Choice, Choice Ireland and UCD Pro Choice Society say the new centre will make it easier for women across Ireland to access safe, legal abortions and hope it will reopen debate on the controversial issue.

There is only one acceptable way to regulate a “clinic” that is in existence for the sole purpose of murdering the yet to be born and most vulnerable members of the human race. That one way is not to allow such a “death chamber” to exist at all.

Jack Meehan, Past National President
Ancient Order of Hibernians in America
Knights of Columbus – 4th Degree

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Irish Muslim protesters chant ‘USA, you must pay!’ at Dublin demonstration

200 - 300 Muslims march in protest by American and French embassies in Dublin

KERRY O’SHEA, - IrishCentral Staff Writer
A largely peaceful protest took place in Dublin following a string of highly violent protests in the Middle East in response to a YouTube video depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammad as a fraud.
The Irish Times reports on the demonstration that saw between 200 and 300 Muslims march from St. Stephen’s Green to the American and French embassies in Dublin on Wednesday.
One of the organizers of the march, Khurram Khan, told The Irish Times that the demonstration was not political and insisted that the marchers did not represent any Islamic groups.
Khan added that Muslims in Ireland had been waiting for “someone to take the initiative” to organize a demonstration, and that Irish Imams were reluctant to organize an event with the fear that it may have been poorly received.
Despite organizers intending for the demonstration to be a silent one, chants of “USA! You must pay!” and “There is no God but Allah!” began almost immediately after the beginning of the protest.
“We tried our best to keep it silent but the people have emotions as well,” Khan said afterwards.
Abdul Haseeb, former editor of Irish Muslim magazine, was in attendance, though he did not support the way in which the group was trying to get its message across; he believes that lobbying would have been a more effective route.
“Pressure would have changed things,” Hasseeb said, feeling that protests like the one in Dublin alienate the wider society.
The protest went over without much incident. Upon passing the US embassy, some protesters did shout, “USA! Shame! Shame!” but they were briskly waved on by organizers to keep moving.
Both the American and French embassies issued statements after the march saying that they respect freedom of expression, as well as the “spirit of responsibility” from the protesters.

Is this a once off protest in support of their Muslim brothers in the Middle East by some of the “new Irish” or a sign of things to come? You be the judge, but, I have no hesitation in stating that it is very disturbing to me as a home owner and very proud citizen of Ireland.
Jack Meehan, Past National President
Ancient Order of Hibernians in America

Monday, September 24, 2012

US politicians urge Kenny to halt bid to legalize abortion

A group of American politicians has written to the Taoiseach urging him to halt any attempt to legalize abortion here and to ensure that Ireland remains "staunchly pro-life".
In the letter, signed by 16 Republican and one Democrat member of the US Congress, the politicians said they were concerned that the expert group, appointed by Health Minister James Reilly to present a report on abortion, included some who are pro-choice.

The minister established the group last January in the wake of a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that Ireland must give legislative effect to the 1992 Supreme Court judgment in the X Case which ruled that a woman was entitled to an abortion if her life was in danger as a result of her pregnancy.

The expert group, due to present its report shortly, is expected to recommend either regulation or legislation. Dr Reilly will then bring that recommendation to Cabinet.

"A concern has been expressed to us that the composition of the expert group seems predisposed to issue recommendations that infringe on the right to life, rather than a simple clarification," says the letter.

"The absence of experts of known pro-life views and the presence of some of known pro-abortion views were especially noted," say the members of Congress.

Among those who signed the letter is Doug Lamborn, a Republican from Colorado Springs who was forced to apologize last year to Mr Obama after saying that working with him was like touching a "tar baby". Lamborn used the racially charged term during an interview on a Denver radio station.

The letter is also signed by Trent Franks, a Republican Congressman from Arizona, who earlier this year sought to push through legislation that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy in the District of Columbia.

When the White House voiced opposition, Franks called Obama "the abortion president".

The 17 Congress members say Ireland "has been an example to the world" in not legislating for abortion.

"It is our hope Ireland remains staunchly pro-life and continues to give this vital example in Europe and throughout the world."

Addressing the Taoiseach directly, they say: "We offer our strong support to you in this effort."

The only Democrat signatory is Dan Lipinski, from Chicago, who co-sponsored a bill to prevent women from obtaining abortions on health insurance unless they had been raped.

The fact that members of the U.S. Congress feel this strongly  about right to life issues in another country is merely an affirmation of a trend has been known to Irish Catholics for the past several years. Ireland is, to its eternal shame, been moving steadily away from a country that was once a beacon of light for the rest of the world in their staunch support of the principles of Catholicism. It is truly unfortunate that the land of our heritage can no longer make that claim.
 With the advent of multi-culturalism resulting from the now defunct “Celtic Tiger economy”, came a steady transition from Catholicism to secularism. Today, that transition is very close to complete and it is a very sad fact of life that Ireland has abandoned those principles that it once held so dear.
Jack Meehan, Past National President
Ancient Order of Hibernians in America
Knights of Columbus – 4th Degree

Friday, September 14, 2012

I am Old Glory
I am old glory: For more than ten score years I have been the banner of hope and freedom for generation after generation of Americans. Born amid the first flames of America's fight for freedom, I am the symbol of a country that has grown from a little group of thirteen colonies to a united nation of fifty sovereign states. Planted firmly on the high pinnacle of American Faith my gently fluttering folds have proved an inspiration to untold millions. Men have followed me into battle with unwavering courage. They have looked upon me as a symbol of national unity. They have prayed that they and their fellow citizens might continue to enjoy the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, which have been granted to every American as the heritage of free men. So long as men love liberty more than life itself; so long as they treasure the priceless privileges bought with the blood of our forefathers; so long as the principles of truth, justice and charity for all remain deeply rooted in human hearts, I shall continue to be the enduring banner of the United States of America.
One nation, under God, with Liberty and Justice for all.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

The House of Representatives approved NAFTA on November 17, 1993, 234-200. The agreement's supporters included 132 Republicans and 102 Democrats. NAFTA passed the Senate 61-38. Senate supporters were 34 Republicans and 27 Democrats. Clinton signed it into law on December 8, 1993; it went into effect on January 1, 1994.
President Bill Clinton while signing the NAFTA bill stated that "NAFTA means jobs. American jobs, and good-paying American jobs. If I didn't believe that, I wouldn't support this agreement."

U.S. Economy Lost Nearly 700,000 Jobs Because Of NAFTA

 When the North American Free Trade Agreement was first signed in 1994, proponents said it would eventually create jobs for the U.S. economy.
17 years later, a new report estimates, the American worker only has hundreds of thousands of job losses to show for it.
According to a report by Economic Policy Institute economist Robert Scott, entitled "Heading South: U.S.-Mexico trade and job displacement after NAFTA," an estimated 682,900 U.S. jobs have been "lost or displaced" because of the agreement and the resulting trade deficit.
The historic agreement, signed just three years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, tore down trade barriers between the U.S., Canada and Mexico, making trade and investment easier for businesses without allowing for the cross-border movement of labor. Despite the agreement being considered a boon for Mexico, the country's economy grew only 1.6 percent per capita on average between 1992 and 2007, The New York Times reported in 2009.
The EPI's calculation of 682,900 jobs lost to NAFTA takes into account jobs created as a result, too. Last year, for example, U.S. exports to Mexico supported 791,900 jobs. It's just that those jobs created pale in comparison to the 1.47 million U.S. jobs that would be necessary without the imports resulting from NAFTA, the report found.
Still, the number of jobs lost to NAFTA looks minimal when placed against the havoc freaked by the financial crisis. Only in 2008, at the height of the crisis, the U.S. economy hemorrhaged 2.6 million jobs, according to CNNMoney.
The U.S. is currently considering a similar trade agreement with South Korea, called U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA). KORUS, like NAFTA, could similarly displace American jobs, EPI warns.
Perhaps the most drastic switch post-NAFTA has been in the two country's trade deficit. In 1993, before the signing of NAFTA, the U.S. held a $1.6 billion trade surplus over their neighbor to the south, which supported 29,400 jobs. By 1997, the tides had turned, and Mexico laid claim to a much larger surplus of $16.6 billion. As of 2010, it's not even close. Mexico's trade surplus now hovers around $97.2 billion.
Jobs continue to be lost to NAFTA today. In the years 2007-2010, the U.S. economy has lost 116,400 as a result of the trade deficit created by NAFTA. And last year, the growth of Mexican auto exports to the United States alone created more Mexican jobs -- 30,400 -- than the entire U.S. auto industry.
It's the U.S. manufacturing sector that has suffered most mightily from NAFTA, alone accounting for 60.8 percent -- 415,000 total -- of the jobs lost to the agreement. Specifically, those making computer of electronic parts have accounted for 22 percent of all job losses, and motor vehicle and parts workers accounted for 15 percent of job losses.
Job losses haven't been limited to certain geographic regions, either, as all fifty states have lost jobs as a result. And while the states with the largest total number of job losses, California and Texas, do hug the southern border, it's actually manufacturing-heavy states to the north, such as Michigan, Indiana and Kentucky, that have lost the largest share of jobs to Mexico.
This is self explanatory. Read it and weep for our American workers!!!
Jack Meehan, Past National President
Ancient Order of Hibernians in America

Monday, August 27, 2012

Open Letter from O’Hara and Devine families to Adams, Morrison, Gibney, McGuinness, Hartley and McFarlane

We welcome the fact that Danny Morrison has broken his silence and has given some insight into the events of the first week of July 1981 concerning the hunger strike in Long Kesh. In that light we would like to ask a few questions in the hope of getting answers that may finally put to rest the events surrounding the tragic deaths of our loved ones.
Danny has stated that he relayed the contents of an offer to the PIRA prison OC, Bik McFarlane, on July 5 1981.
Richard O’Rawe, the prison PRO, has said that Bik sent him down a comm detailing what was on offer, and that he said to Bik “Ta go leor ann” (There is enough there). This has been verified to some of our families by two ex-Blanketmen who had been there on the wing and heard the words. Also, Bik himself, in a press interview in 2009, finally admitted he had had a conversation with Richard, and that he thought the Brit offer was “amazing.” In light of this, we must assume that Bik made his and Richard’s views known to their outside leadership. What we would like to know is:

Q1: Why was this offer not accepted?

Q2: Who, on the outside overrode Bik’s authority?

Q3: Why was the Hunger Strike allowed to continue, on direction from the outside (not the POWs)?

Q4: Mrs McDonnell asked Gerry Adams to save her son’s life and put an end to the Hunger Strike by ordering the POWs off it. Mr Adams’ reply was that he did not have the authority to do this. Who had the authority (Brendan McLaughlin was ordered off it due to his medical condition)?

Q5: Why was the IRSP (who were joint participants in the Hunger Strike) not informed about the offer through Mountain Climber?

Q6: The British sent you their offer (to be released upon the ending of the Hunger Strike) in the form of dictated statements on the 6th and 20th of July. Why were these statements never shown to the POWs?

Q7: Who took the decision to withhold the statements from the hunger strikers and the prison leadership?

Q8: On the 29th of July, Gerry Adams told the mother and father of Kieran Doherty, and the hunger strikers, that ”there was no deal on the table, no movement of any sort” despite him being at the centre of ongoing communications/negotiations with the Brits from July 4th to July 20th.

Why did Adams deliberately mislead the hunger strikers? Did he think that they might call off their fast if they found out what was really happening? We should not forget that four of those men who listened and joked with Adams, went on to die horrible deaths in total ignorance of what the British were offering.
In Danny Morrison’s recent letter he spoke of the “families’ pain”‘. Danny can’t even hope to imagine the pain felt by some of our families. We, the undersigned, believe that the Hunger Strike was prolonged when an honourable settlement was available, a settlement that would have saved the lives of six brave men.
We called for an independent inquiry three years ago, asking all those involved in this matter to attend. Only Richard O’Rawe and the late Dr. Garrett FitzGerald said they would attend.
We once again call for on Gerry Adams, Danny Morrison, Jim Gibney, Martin McGuinness, Tom Hartley, and BikMcFarlane to attend. The least we deserve, is a reason why they won’t attend, and failing that, they could provide answers to our questions.

Is sinne
Peggy and Tony O Hara, Michael and Louise Devine.


I have written about this issue before and I am in contact often with my good friend and Hibernian Brother Joe McCloskey from AOH Derry Div. #1. Joe is a brother of Peggy O’Hara and uncle of Tony and his brother Patsy, who died on Hunger Strike in 1981. Michael and Louise Devine are the son and daughter of Mickey Devine, the last hunger striker to die. If anyone has a right to full disclosure of the facts regarding the deaths of those ten valiant young Irish patriots, it is without doubt their families, some of whom very obviously still harbor serious doubts about the circumstances surrounding the deaths of their loved ones. May God Bless those troubled families and grant them the peace that they deserve. As far as others are concerned, we must form our own opinions based on available information while keeping an open mind to further information that may become available at a later date.  

Jack Meehan, Past National President
Ancient Order of Hibernians in America

Saturday, August 25, 2012

President's Tea Party 'smackdown' goes viral


A TWO-YEAR-OLD clip featuring President Michael D Higgins deriding a conservative US talk show host took on a new lease of life and went “viral” yesterday. By late last night it had been viewed more than one million times.
There has been huge reaction to it from users of social networking sites in the United States where it was described yesterday as a “Tea Party smackdown”.
The clip dates from 2010 when a debate took place on Newstalk radio between Mr Higgins, then a Labour Party TD, and the Boston talk show host and Tea Party advocate Michael Graham. In the clip from a debate about foreign policy on George Hook’s programme, Mr Higgins tells Graham to “be proud to be a decent American rather than being just a w**ker whipping up fear”.

The sudden spike in traffic for the clip is linked to social network sharing site On Wednesday it posted the clip with the headline, “a Tea Partier decided to pick a fight with a foreign president. It didn’t go so well.”
In the post, Mansur Gidfar of Upworthy wrote that Michael D Higgins was “fed up with over-the-top Tea Party rhetoric, and he isn’t afraid to show it. Listen to him call out radio host Michael Graham on everything from healthcare to foreign policy. Trust me, you don’t want to miss this.”
By last night the story had received over a million unique page views (1,041,032) on the Upworthy site and had become the site's most widely viewed post ever, a spokesman told The Irish Times. The Upworthy story was shared 60,184 times on Facebook and 28,230 times on Twitter, he said.

A link to the clip was also retweeted by some influential American tweeters, with some 50,000 followers, including actor Mia Farrow, Daily Show correspondent Aasif Mandvi and author Jeffrey Feldman.
Half a million followers received the link in a tweet from evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins describing Mr Higgins as “no ordinary president”. The clip was posted on YouTube in February 2012 by a pro-Obama blogger. “It made the rounds on a couple of political blogs a few months back but never gained any significant traction,” Gidfar told The Irish Times yesterday. “It was a great clip, though, so I thought it was worth trying to send it viral again,” he added.
“For a lot of Americans, it’s incredibly rare to hear someone emphatically reject Tea Party talking points so straightforwardly in a media setting,” he said.
Yesterday, Graham tweeted: “If opposing Arab terrorists and supporting Israel’s right to self-defence still means I’m a ‘w**ker’, nothing’s changed.”
A spokesman for Mr Higgins had no comment to make.
To listen to Mr Higgins debate with Graham, go to

If there was ever any doubt about this Marxist/Socialist political “hanger on”, this rant should clear up that doubt. He has hung around on the fringes of Irish Labour Party politics for decades and managed to get elected to various low level political offices while spewing his anti American rhetoric and involving himself in demonstrations against American foreign policy, two Presidents of the United States of America, and the reprehensible protests which were specifically designed to ridicule the valiant men and women of our American military who were passing through Shannon Airport. He has the unmitigated nerve to call somebody else “a wanker”, I submit to you that Mr. Higgins was then and is now nothing more than a sniveling little anti American politician whose very offensive opinions and remarks we, in the United States of America, could do very well without.

Jack Meehan, Past National President
Ancient Order of Hibernians in America
Proud Citizen of the United States of America and Ireland

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Irish President Michael D Higgins is asked “Why should Americans visit Ireland now?”

In advance of The Gathering, Ireland’s President speaks out to the 42 million Irish Americans (as long as they are not wearing the uniform of our U.S. armed forces).

CATHY HAYES, - IrishCentral Staff Writer - 14 August  2012

As Ireland gears up for The Gathering Ireland 2013, Ireland’s President Michael D Higgins is calling on Americans to visit the “Old Country” and celebrate their Irish roots.
 Recently the President spoke to travel blog,about his time spent in the US, his affinity to the country, and Ireland’s rich resource, its Diaspora.
The site forthrightly asked the President, “Why should Americans visit Ireland now?”
His response was to the point and went directly to what the consumer / traveler is truly concerned about - value for money, finding their roots, and that world famous Irish charm.
Higgins said, “They would find Ireland a great value right now. In my memory, I've never seen such values on hotels and guesthouses and so forth as there is right now. It's also great value because part of the excesses of the Celtic Tiger years has been blown away.”
With over 42 million Irish Americans it’s not surprising that Ireland has become a major destination for genealogy vacations.
He said, “By now the original census materials from the 19th and 20th centuries have been put up online and digitized. So it'll be possible for people to trace where their ancestors came from - even on a brief holiday.”
Finally he touched on the famous Irish welcome from the country of Cead Mille Failte (“A hundred thousand welcomes”).
Ireland’s new president ended by saying, “There's incredible warmth towards people who come from the United States to experience Ireland (as long as they are not wearing camos). And it's a beautiful country to visit and the people have time to stop and talk to you. With the Celtic Tiger, there was a certain emphasis on getting things done, but now we've gone back to the best of ourselves and I very much welcome that.”

This is how Mr. Higgins welcomed our American heroes to Ireland. Hypocrisy is thy name, Uachtaran.
Jack Meehan, Past National President
Ancient Order of Hibernians in America
Proud citizen of the United States of America and Ireland
 An Uachtaran -Wee Michael D.

Michael D. Higgins  – The most anti-American head of state in the western world. This fact is sure to do wonders for American business and tourism.


He protested against the US Presidential visit to Ireland in 1984.


He protested against the US Presidential visit to Ireland in 2004.

Michael D. Higgins has always been Ireland's No.1 participant in anti-American protests and demonstrations

Monday, July 30, 2012

Tánaiste announces €3m aid package for Somalia

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore announced an additional €3m in life-saving assistance to Somalia during a visit to the capital, Mogadishu today.

Minister Gilmore's visit coincides with the one-year anniversary of the UN's declaration of famine in Somalia in July 2011.

The Tánaiste is the first Irish Minister to travel to the country in more than two decades.

Mr Gilmore said: “Somalia is one of the poorest and most insecure environments in the world. Our ongoing assistance is saving lives every day.”

The funding will help non-governmental organisations (NGOs), including Concern, to scale up vital aid to millions of vulnerable Somalis whose lives are in jeopardy as a result of war and starvation.
It is in addition to almost €30m in emergency and long-term development funding given through Irish Aid over the past five years.
Transparency International's 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index ranked Somalia and North Korea as joint last, or most corrupt.


Perhaps I am getting the wrong message here but this article comes mere days after I heard that the Irish government is going to be wielding the “budget cutting axe” to agencies that provide much needed services to Irish nationals living in the United States. This is not to mention the vicious cuts to services for people in their own country who are very much in need of those services. The funding that will be necessary to replace these unconscionable budget cuts to their own people and to agencies providing services to the Irish diaspora will once again be placed on the shoulders of the Irish taxpayer. While it is commendable to assist third world countries, the size of the Irish government’s largesse should definitely be scrutinized and brought under control.

Jack Meehan, Past National President
Ancient Order of Hibernians in America

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Hill braces for lame-duck frenzy

Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer - July 24, 2012 

Tax rates, spending cuts and the deficit will dominate the Capitol this fall, but lawmakers and lobbyists are quietly maneuvering to use the lame-duck session to clean up a whole mess of other issues that Congress has been unable — or unwilling — to handle.

First there’s the United States Postal Service, which will default on $11 billion worth of health care retirement payments in August. Negotiations are under way to patch its finances during the lame-duck session.

K Street and Capitol Hill are also moving closer than ever before to a deal to legalize online gaming — something that’s long simmered on the back burner but that may pass in the lame duck. Congress also may extend parts of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which expire at the end of 2012.

Welfare programs are also on the block: Extending parts of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families may not get done until after the election, even though some programs expire at the end of September.

This diffuse set of bills and expiring deadlines has created a behind-the-scenes frenzy as lobbyists and lawmakers try to set in motion a few deals despite the gridlock that has dominated the 112th Congress.

The action may extend to other fronts, like the Dodd-Frank financial law — lawmakers and lobbyists have spotted opportunity to repeal a provision in the law that forces banks to transfer derivatives trades out of their shops.

Most of the movement is so preliminary that few key players are willing to talk about it on the record. Many of these items could be slipped into larger legislation, outside public view while Washington deals with the frenzy of finding compromise on tax rates for every American. Much hinges on the election — the landscape for legislative victories will change significantly depending on the outcome of November.

But inside the Capitol, there’s an increasing desire to pick off a bunch of legislative wins. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) can hardly make his way across the House floor these days without being bombarded by Republicans who want their priority pushed before the 112th Congress ends.

But House leaders are warning that they can’t do everything that’s punted to a lame duck. Aides in both chambers say Congress will be swamped at the end of the year — making each issue an uphill climb.

All told, the lame duck is shaping up to be one of the most significant sessions in recent history.

Here’s what expires at the end of the year: marginal tax rates for every American, the reimbursement rate for doctors who treat Medicare patients, the alternative minimum tax, the debt ceiling and unemployment insurance. Not to mention automatic spending cuts for the Pentagon and other domestic programs go into effect next year. Plus, House Republican leadership appears to be setting itself up to pass a funding resolution that keeps the government open until the end of 2012 — which will require Congress to deal with spending bills at the end of the year, as well.

The uptick in lobbying and negotiating on a series of peripheral issues underscores the reality of this Congress so far: Nothing is getting done. Just look at the month of July, during which the House has spent much of its time on a series of politically hot votes on defense spending, regulation, taxes and health care. Leadership has been rebuffing attempts to move a farm bill and to reform the Postal Service.

“Ultimately, we thought we’d be doing it during September or the lame duck,” said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), whose Oversight and Government Reform Committee is charged with the nation’s postal system.

But instead of reforming the Postal Service — which Democrats and Republicans agree they must do — Congress will most likely just pass a one-year patch.

“They don’t have the votes to pass it,” Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) said of Issa’s postal reform bill, which is opposed by unions. “And it’s Issa’s fault.” Issa maintains that he’s working on a long-term bill with the Senate.

The Senate isn’t much better. The chamber has yet to pass a single appropriations bill — a failure that has stalled items lawmakers hoped would ride alongside the spending legislation.

Tactically, leaders in both chambers don’t have many options. The House has only 19 days in session before the November election. Republican leaders have told members who have legislative priorities that the floor schedule is largely set.

That’s why people are eyeing the lame duck. There’s even some thought that Congress could jam through a five-year farm bill then — though nothing’s been settled on that front.

The story of how online gambling might be tackled this Congress underscores the complex negotiations to get things done.

Opponents to the bill — including professional sports associations and casino mogul Sheldon Adelson — have softened their opposition, according to sources involved in the negotiations.

While Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and retiring Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) have been moving toward an agreement to legalize online gaming — many states have pre-empted them and moved on their own. But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is still opposed, making an immediate agreement elusive. Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), who is facing a tough race in November against Las Vegas Democratic Rep. Shelley Berkley, has been tasked with finding Republican votes for the bill. He has been unable to so far, according to sources involved in the negotiations.

Onlookers know that the ground is softening — and the hurry of the lame duck could be the perfect opportunity.

“I think there’s a lot of reason to believe why there should be a bill done sooner than later,” Poker Players Alliance head John Pappas said. “Even those in Congress who are opposed to Internet gaming recognize to do nothing would only worsen the problem.”


This is a very interesting article. I notice that the once hot issue of immigration reform is not even mentioned let alone the highly touted proposed “Irish E-3 Visa Program” which seeks to create 10,500 “non-immigrant temporary work permits” annually. It appears that this proposed legislation is probably not even in the “pecking order” of bills to be dealt with in the current legislative session. This should come as no great surprise with the rate of unemployment remaining at above 8 percent. Irish immigration activists would be far better off to concentrate their efforts on trying to resolve the immigration status of our undocumented Irish nationals currently residing here in the U.S. and contributing to our economy.

Jack Meehan, Past National President

Ancient Order of Hibernians in America

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Fury at loyalist band's musical taunts outside Catholic church

 Lesley-Anne McKeown -14 July 2012

The Orange Order has been asked to explain why a loyalist band played sectarian music outside a Catholic church in Belfast on the Twelfth.
Members of a flute band, wearing Shankill YCV uniforms, were recorded walking round in circles outside St Patrick’s Church on Donegall Street in the city centre.
Two separate videos were posted on YouTube.
At one point the band, who stalled for 15 minutes outside the church, played the The Famine Song, an anti-Catholic tune which originated in Glasgow.
At the end of one of the videos, the man recording it — Sinn Fein activist JJ Magee (49) — is threatened by men wearing Orange sashes. One man brandishing a wooden walking stick said: “You f***ing take yourself off. I am warning you. I’ll knock your b******s off.”
Mr Magee, from north Belfast, said he had filmed the band with his mobile phone as he thought they were being provocative.
“I noticed out of the side of my eye two guys approaching me.
“They verbally abused me, then started to throw punches and tried to kick me,” he said.
Mr Magee was not injured in the attack. However, a police officer who was nearby had to draw his baton to defuse the situation.
Sinn Fein councillor for north Belfast Conor Maskey said the Orange Order had questions to answer.
“It is time for the Orange Order to show leadership, step into the 21st century and get rid of the organisation’s anti-Catholic, sectarian ethos,” he said
“Until that happens, then clearly this bigoted side of the organisation will continue to manifest itself in (such) incidents.”
A spokesman for the Belfast County Grand Orange Lodge said that the band had stopped outside the church because of a delay in the main procession.
However, he added: “The institution reviews all parades and will take any issues raised into account as part of that review.”
A PSNI spokesman said: “Throughout this incident police worked closely with stewards and organisers to resolve the situation peacefully. The recorded footage will be studied closely. If any criminal offences are detected a full and thorough investigation will be carried out.”
It is time for the Stormont government to cease and desist from issuing weak statements of disagreement with this type of despicable sectarian behavior and ban these marches altogether. The Orange Order has for decades practiced the vilest imaginable forms of anti-Catholic, anti-Irish behavior on a daily basis, but it becomes particularly reprehensible and visible for all the world to see during “marching season”. It must be stopped and it is the sole responsibility of the Stormont government to stop it – NOW!!!
Jack Meehan, Past National President
Ancient Order of Hibernians in America