Monday, May 9, 2016

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Father Daniel Berrigan

George McLaughlin remembers Daniel Berrigan, a tireless advocate of the rights of Irish political prisoners. George McLaughlin is Former Chairman, New York H-Block/Armagh.

Father Daniel Berrigan traveled with me to the North of Ireland twice in the early 1980s.


When I first called him and asked if he could help us in our struggle to get better conditions for Irish prisoners in British jails, he said, "Of course.  I have been waiting for your call," although we had never before met me nor spoken to one another. 

During those trips, Dan, along with his two brothers Philip and Jerry, championed the rights of Irish republican prisoners and those who suffered under British rule in the North of Ireland.  The trips took place during the H-Block struggle, which culminated in the deaths of ten men on hunger strikes in Long Kesh prison.   Back in New York, Dan was arrested as part of his support for the prisoners' five just demands. 

Dan also helped us to start the Irish Political Prisoners Children’s’ Fund in America, which brought these same prisoners’ children and siblings to our shores for a vacation every summer.  Whenever we—the New York H-Block/Armagh Committee and the Irish Political Prisoners Children's Fund—asked him to help, Dan always said "yes".  It is no coincidence that his wake is being held on May 5th—Bobby Sands Day—which marks the anniversary of the first man to die on hunger strike in Long Kesh prison.

Dan continued to help us over the years and never forgot us, and never forgot Ireland. 

Some years later, he performed the wedding for my wife Annie and me in Brooklyn, New York.  We grew to love him and love him still. 


On behalf of the Irish prisoners and families who he helped as well as the Irish Americans whom he supported, we want to say, Go raibh maith agat agus  beannacht, a Dan!  Thank you and bless you Dan!

Requiescat en pace, Father Dan!

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