Irish American Peace Prize

Posted By: June 20, 2019

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    Barbara Flaherty, Mattie Reilly, Bob Bateman, and Fr. Sean McManus

 CAPITOL HILL. Thursday, June 20, 2019—Two long-time campaigners for unity, justice, and peace in Ireland—all 32 Counties, of course—are the most recent recipients of the Irish American Peace Prize.

The prize was recently instituted by the Capitol Hill-based Irish National Caucus to “to honor and recognize individuals who have struggled for Irish justice over the past 50 years.”

The recipients were Mattie Reilly and Bob Bateman.

Mr. Reilly, a New York resident, is a native of County Fermanagh; and Mr. Bateman, originally from Massachusetts, also lives in New York.

The Prize was presented on Tuesday, June 18 in Philadelphia following the presentation of the World Peace Prize “Roving Ambassador For Peace” to Michael Barnes, First International Vice President, IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees) and a Vice President of the New Jersey AFL-CIO.

Fr. Sean McManus, president of the Irish National Caucus, made the presentation, and Barbara Flaherty, Executive Vice President of the Irish National Caucus, chaired the ceremony.

 Fr. Sean Mc Manus explained when he launched the Irish American Peace Prize: “We believe this Prize was needed to bring balance, truth, and a sense of realism to the whole history of the past 50 years. And, I felt that I had a duty to launch the Irish American Peace Prize in order to honor real people who have been ignored: individuals who bore the heat of the day, who were not ‘sunshine patriots,’ and who were not afraid to take a stand when it was not fashionable or easy. The reality is that many Irish Americans were too scared or disinterested to take a stand, and some just emerged when it was easy and had no cost…”

Mattie Reilly, from Teemore (near the Cavan border) County Fermanagh, has long been involved with the AOH and many Irish- American organizations. He is a most respected, admired, even beloved, individual in the Irish-American community.

Bob Bateman is former AOH National Historian, Liaison to the Irish National Caucus, and Congressional Ad Hoc Committee for Irish Affairs (1976-1982). And, famously and most fittingly for this Prize, he is great-grandnephew of the Fenian Captain Timothy Deasy (1839–1880). On  September 18, 1867, Deasy was rescued from a prison van in Manchester, England, escaping to America. The incident gave rise to the motto and the song, “God Save Ireland” about the Manchester Martyrs. Bob Bateman has always kept “the Fenian faith.”

The citation on the Irish American Peace Prize declares: “Presented to (name): For dedication to the founding principle of the Irish National Caucus: “Ireland, too, has the right to be One Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. END.