AOH National President warns of return to “dark days of the past” in the North

Patrick Mason@IrishCentral Sunday, July 15, 2018

Speaking from their Nation Convention in Louisville, Kentucky, National President James McKay of the Ancient Order of Hibernians addressed reports of the recent outbreak of violence in Northern Ireland.

“It is with great sadness that the Hibernians have learned of the recent outbreak of violence in the North of Ireland; with riots in Derry and bomb attacks on the homes of former Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams and activist Bobby Storey. Rather than completing the work toward a lasting peace in this twentieth anniversary year of the Good Friday Agreement (GFA), we seem to be witnessing a regression to the violence of fifty years ago that preceded ‘the Troubles’. There can be no justification, no noble purpose served, in throwing an explosive device is a driveway where children were playing a few minutes before.

“These are further signs of the community of Northern Ireland’s deteriorating faith in the institutions of government. The dysfunction of the devolved Stormont government combined with the continuing Westminster chaos of Brexit continue to erode the community of Northern Ireland’s confidence in the peaceful institutions of governance.

“The shackles forged of unresolved scandals tracing to the highest level of the Stormont executive, the continued stonewalling on the commitments made to address the legacy of the past, and a failure to take even the most innocuous of steps to implement a society built on parity of esteem continue to pull Northern Ireland back to the dark days of the past. Rather than celebrating the two decades of peace created by the Good Friday agreement, recent photos show July 12th bonfires bedecked with banners labeled ‘KAT’, ‘Kill All Taigs’ (Catholics), threatening to destroy that historic agreement on a funeral pyre of triumphalism.

“We have seen such deplorable acts in Northern Ireland before, we know the terrible consequences if not addressed; posterity will judge us cruelly if we allow history to repeat itself in Northern Ireland. The world, and  specifically the United States, must disabuse themselves of the fallacy that the Good Friday Agreement was an end, it was only the beginning of a journey on the road to a full peace; a journey that for far too long has been obstructed. Two decades on it is time to finish the job started in 1998. The Hibernians condemn the recent violence in Northern Ireland and once again repeat their call for the Appointment of a US Special Envoy to Northern Ireland, as was committed to almost a year ago by President Trump, to inject new energy and accountability to the peace process in Northern Ireland.”