2009-04-17 / Letters

Irish Heroes Stem of Irish Roots

Dear Editor,

I recently saw the movie "Hunger." It was the story of Bobby Sands, the Irish political prisoner who starved to death for his belief that he was an Irish Political Prisoner. The issue was that the young men at the prison at the Maze or Long Beach wanted to wear their own clothes in prison because they were fighting for the freedom of Ireland. Mrs. Margaret Hatchu, the Prime Minister of N. Ireland refused this request. Seventy fine young men in their twenties agreed to starve themselves to death for the Cause of Irish freedom. How brave and gallant they were. Who amongst us can equal their courage?

During the troubles in Ireland in the late 1970s until 1981, more than 2,100 Irish died in the North of Ireland. When Mrs. Hatchu was in charge, she was unfairly harsh to the Irish. She brought in Deploch Courts, which were no trials by jury, rubber bullets which injured young children. You can only imagine the beatings the young men received in the Maze. It was a very sad time for the North of Ireland. I do not agree with the no wash, no clean-up and improper use of body experiment. It was too horrible for human beings to put themselves there. But the British system of Justice drove these young Republicans over the edge. Margaret Hatchu was a sadistic thug!!

I attended the Easter rising breakfast at the Strata Hotel in New York during this era. The breakfast was chaired by the late Frank Durham, Esq. of county Mayo, Ireland. It was a lovely affair. Frank spoke of the troubles. 608 Carpenters Union bought 30 tables from all the major cities in the United States, there was support for the Boys of the Blanket. We did care!

During this time frame, Margaret Hatchu while Prime Minster of England and Northern Ireland, visited the White House and Nancy Regan. Somehow she ordered the President of the United States to contact the Warden at Manhattan Correction Facility to have Joe Doherty, the Irish Political Prisoner, transported in the middle of the night without his glasses and personal effects to Otisville Correction Facility in the middle of

Letters the night. Mrs. Hatchu wanted to make N.Y. a Long Beach. Why not President Regan braced her! Joe Doherty was placed in solitary confinement. I could not believe how the long and cruel arm of Mrs. Hatchu extended from the White House in Washington D.C. and into New York. I contacted Joe Doherty and sent him many things, candy was not allowed. I contacted Congressman Mario Biaggi who did help. Mrs. Hatchu was not allowed to run New York politics. (Because I stopped her.) But Mayor Giuliani did not support Joseph Doherty. Frank Durham, Esq. And Mary Peke handled his legal issue. He was employed prior to his arrest in Clancy's bar in the '50s in Leunglon bac, where he was very popular. Clancy, the owner, was a friend of the Mc- Mahon family. Clancy was a fine and decent man!

During this time frame, Mike Flannery and George Harrison were indicted for gun running and buying arms. In my Irish heart I do know Mrs. Hatchu and her team set up Mike Flannery. There were cailis at Gaelic Park, NY, which thousands attended. We Irish Americans did care! Mike Flannery and George Harrison were tried in Federal Court in Brooklyn and were found not guilty. The legal case was handled by the great Irish born attorney, Frank Durham, Esq.

Another legal case was Dessie Mackin an Irish Political Prisoner who came to New York. He was jailed and a N.Y. trial was held in a Federal Court in New York. Frank Durham, Esq. established that there was "Political Prisoner Status" for the republican in the Federal Courts in the United States. It was a solid victory for the boys on Blankets in Northern Ireland. I am privileged to have this particular brief and legal case. I read first hand how brilliant Frank Durham, Esq. was. He brought in superior witnesses to the F.B.I. and British government. My Irish hat is off to Frank Durham, Esq. He worked so hard to win his cases. Frank Durham, Esq. is the nephew of mayor O'Dwyer, NYC mayor. Frank Durham, Esq. died in New York in November of 2007. There will never be another Frank Durham, Esq. No one can equal his knowledge of Irish issues. No one will ever care as much as Frank did!! May he rest in peace as the King of Heaven. No finer person ever lived than Mr. Frank Durham. He was an outstanding person and very outstanding attorney. He also traveled to Columbia, S.C. to help the Irish.

Dessie Mackin left Belfast and happily lives in Portugal. He owes his life to Frank Durham, Esq. who worked PRO BONO for the CAUSE!

I would assume that the drinking students involved in the inappropriate behavior on March 6 were Irish American and that they all come from loving homes. Were any of them punished for their behavior? Were there allowances lowered or cell phones taken away? The majority of these students don't work and have a great life. They are in most cases good students and love Irish culture and music. If they go to Catholic or public schools of New York City, they never learn how the Irish suffered in Ireland under Cromwell and Mrs. Hatchu. The Brits have always tried to rule the Irish with an iron fist and it does not work out.

Who could ever deny the bravery, kindness and goodness and in most cases charity of the Irish toward the Catholic Church, the community and all the United States wars including the Civil War. The Irish love to fight for their country be it Ireland or America. I am amazed that the Catholic Church in Ireland communicated with the leaders of 1916. How cruel the Catholic Church was in 1916!! The Catholic Church again slapped the face of Freedom fighter Mike Flannery, a 1916 hero when he was selected Grand Marshall of the St. Patrick's Day parade. What was that all about anyway? Is the Catholic Church backing Mother England? I did write to the most noted Catholic theologist in the Catholic Church in New York today about this bad treatment. I must say that Msgr. Michael Hill, teacher of priests at Dunwoody answered me beautifully and respectfully. He is ended a finished politician of the Catholic Church and may be Cardinal of New York in time.

Oh, yes, it is only the Irish that drink. The Mexicans like their beer, tequila and scotch. The Brits like their mixed drinks, and I even know Jewish people who drink too much wine. One boss I had crashed into their cars and was arrested for drunk driving. He worked for the City of New York. He asked the other union reps to go for a few beers. I myself never drank when I worked, at lunch time, at retirement parties, or at ethnic parties. I was careful of my career!!

I gave up drinking nearly completely because I fell on the street after drinking a glass of scotch with ice. I have just as good a time without the booze, because I can clearly remember everything.

As far as the Rockaway high school students in Belle Harbor, if they are lucky enough to see the movie "Hunger" they will know what a true hero is. Just as Deputy Chief Feehan gave his life on 9/11 that America would be free, Bobby Sands gave his life so that Ireland would be free. Two finer men, both are heroes in every sense of the word.

May Bobby Sands, First Deputy Chief Feehan, Frank Durham, Esq. rest in peace. You will always be remembered for your Irish kindness and bravery!!!

Why is Irish history and suffering ignored both in the Catholic school system and New York City school system? Irish were denied jobs during the depression in NY, and there were signs in windows stating "Irish need not apply." I myself believe that the Belle Harbor students at St. Francis School are model students compared to NYC students.


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