Irish National Caucus

Working for justice and praying for peace in Ireland... WELCOME TO THE IRISH NATIONAL CAUCUS BLOG Ceade Mile Failte -- hundred thousand welcomes! We believe the U.S. has a vital role to play by applying a single -- not a double-standard in its foreign policies towards human rights in Ireland. In particular, we believe the U.S. must not subsidize anti-Catholic discrimination in Northern Ireland. That is why the Irish National Caucus in 1984 initiated the MacBride Principles.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Officials Concerned Over US IRA Support

Officials concerned over support in US for IRA

"One of the main concerns of British officials was the
extent to which the Irish National Caucus ... might extend
its influence within the US Congress and the US media".

By Jimmy Burns

Published: December 29 2005 02:00 Last updated: December
29 2005 02:00

Support for the IRA in the US was one of the prime concerns
of British officials charged with dealing with Northern
Ireland affairs in the mid-1970s.

In early 1975, British intelligence helped provide the US
Federal Bureau of Investigation with an updated blacklist
of suspected IRA members, whose US visa applications were
then turned down.

British officials also considered encouraging moderate
Irish Catholic politicians to raise funds in the US, as a
way of diverting funds away from Irish Republicanism. But
within Whitehall it was generally accepted such efforts had
limited impact on the steady support the IRA enjoyed among
some Irish-Americans, with UK officials estimating up to a
third of the organisation's income was being raised in the

A Northern Ireland Office official wrote in a memo to a
Foreign Office colleague on June 4 1975: "Many American
citizens, not particularly well informed (or indeed much
concerned) about Northern Ireland, would be similarly
bamboozled by the apparent unity of Irish organisations in
the US in subscribing to a policy of getting the British
out of Northern Ireland."

One of the main concerns of British officials was the
extent to which the Irish National Caucus - an informal
network of pro-Irish Republican Americans - might extend
its influence within the US Congress and the US media.

In Washington, British embassy officials warned that once
Sinn Féin, the IRA's political wing, had "gained
respectability or power" in the South [of Ireland], then
the Irish National Caucus "would become an organisation to
be taken seriously both on Capitol Hill and in the country
at large".

Meanwhile, Whitehall paranoia was stirred by the decision
of Pope Paul VI to make a saint of Oliver Plunkett, an
Irish Catholic archbishop executed in the 17th century for
alleged treason against the British state.

Kenneth Jones, an official with the Foreign Office's
western European department, warned in a memo dated April
23 1975 that the planned canonisation was politically a
"source of greater embarrassment" to the government than
had been the canonisation of 40 Catholic martyrs five years
earlier. As supporting evidence, he quoted an Irish
Catholic priest who had drawn an analogy between Bishop
Plunkett's persecution and the "squalor of British
internment procedures" involving IRA suspects.

Desmond Crawley, head of the British delegation to the
Vatican, advised that the government should keep a low
profile on the Plunkett affair. The canonisation went ahead
with the presence of the Pope, and senior Irish government
figures. The Vatican publicised the event as an example of
ecumenical reconciliation.

Father Sean Mc Manus
Irish National Caucus
P.O. Box 15128
Capitol Hill
Washington, D.C. 20003-0849

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Thanks Be to God I Never Knew Donaldson

Irish National Caucus Press Release

Thanks Be to God I never Knew Donaldson

Americans who never had any dealings with British
agent, Denis Donaldson, are counting their blessings.

"Thanks be to God, I never knew him nor had any
dealings with him", said Fr. Sean Mc Manus, President
of the Capitol Hill-based Irish National Caucus."

And that's the only good thing I can say about this
whole sorry affair. Now we must suspect that
everything he touched in the United States and in
Ireland has been contaminated. It casts a terrible
shadow on the whole Irish issue", he concluded.

Father Sean Mc Manus
Irish National Caucus
P.O. Box 15128
Capitol Hill
Washington, D.C. 20003-0849

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Mc Dowell a National Disgrace



Opin: Mc Dowell a National Disgrace

And Only Threat to Republic

CAPITOL HILL. TUESDAY DECEMBER 13, 2005 ---- Irish-Americans are increasingly alarmed by the conduct of Justice Minister, Michael Mc Dowell.

" Just as we thought the bad old Blue Shirt days were over because of the Irish Peace process, now comes Mc Dowell to tell us they haven't gone away, you know", said Fr. Sean Mc Manus, President of the Capitol Hill-based Irish National Caucus.

" I have received many calls from concerned Irish-Americans about Mc Dowell's assumption that he can abuse his Ministerial position to declare anybody guilty, to indict newspapers even before they come into existence and to leak police documents to the media Š and all in the name of National Security. Mc Dowell himself appears to be the only threat to the Republic", Fr. Mc Manus explained.

" One of the great dividends of the Peace-Process is that it ended the Civil War mentality, and also removed hostility between Irish-Americans and the Irish government. Prior to the Peace-Process, Irish-Americans had been very dissatisfied with the different Irish governments, which they had regarded as negligent on the North, and even complicit with British injustice against Catholics. But ever since Albert Reynolds, Irish-Americans have been pleased by how the Dublin government has worked for justice and peace in the North Š but now Mc Dowell seems intent on destroying all this, and casting a shadow over the admirable work of Bertie Ahern. Mc Dowell is a threat to justice and democracy in the South, and a menace to the Peace-Process in the North", Fr. Mc Manus concluded.

Father Sean Mc Manus
Irish National Caucus
P.O. Box 15128
Capitol Hill
Washington, D.C. 20003-0849

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Spy Ring Case Cautionary Lesson for U.S.

Spy Ring Case Cautionary Lesson for U.S.

Stormontgate Embarrasses Reiss

CAPITOL HILL. December 9, 2005 --- Dr. Mitchell Reiss,
Special Envoy for Northern Ireland, was recently badly hurt
by the ridiculous U.S decision to ban Gerry Adams from
fundraising on his planned visit to New York.

Now Dr. Reiss has suffered another blow to his previously
very fine record: the collapse of the Spy Ring case, which
was used by the police to bring down the Northern Ireland
Assembly in October 2002.

Fr. Sean Mc Manus, president of the Capitol Hill-based
Irish National Caucus said:" Dr. Reiss, whom I have praised
many times, has spent a lot of time trying to promote the
Northern Ireland police. He has vigorously tried to
convince Irish-Americans that the bad old days were over
and that we should without reservation endorse the PSNI.
Well, I'm afraid our concerns have been justified. Some of
us tried to convince Dr. Reiss that the Mugabe-style, high-
media covered, raid on Sinn Fein offices was all about
destroying the Good Friday Agreement and pulling down the
Assembly, but he would not listen ".

Fr. Mc Manus went on to urge Dr. Reiss to use his good
offices to put pressure on the PSNI: " I hope Dr. Reiss now
realizes he has been too naïve about the police -- just
like so many others before him. There is a long history of
outsiders who finally had to admit that cleaning up the
Northern Ireland police was far more difficult than they
had previously thought".


Father Sean Mc Manus
Irish National Caucus
P.O. Box 15128
Capitol Hill
Washington, D.C. 20003-0849

Monday, December 05, 2005

Sean Fermanagh Trumps McCourts of Limerick

Sean Fermanagh Writer Trumps The Mc Courts Of Limerick

Irish-Americans -- both those born in Ireland and those
born in the United States -- will love “Barefoot in
Mullyneeny" by Bryan Gallagher of County Fermanagh
(HarperCollins Publisher. U.K. 2005).

Bryan Gallagher is as good as Frank Mc Court -- and he
doesn't have the poormouth or the dirty mouth of the

A retired school principal, Gallagher writes beautifully --
with obvious affection but without undue sentimentality --
about growing up in Mullyneeny, in the parish of Derrylin
,near the Cavan border, on the shores of Lough Erne. As he
says in his introduction, “It is from its shores and
the surrounding countryside that most of my stories come. I
spent my childhood among these people and I have never
really left. It is my feeing that among the fields and
streets [roads] where you grow up, there your spirit will
always live. And there you will leave it when you die."

That for me, who grew up in the neighboring parish of
Kinawley, called to mind William Wordwrorth's "spots of
time" -- special places that make such an indelible imprint
that their mere recall instills the soul with joy, maybe
even  grace.

The 48 Short Stories  in this book are indeed short. Only
three are over 10 pages and the others are just a few
pages. So one can dip into them leisurely and at one's own
pace, without losing the plot so to speak.

Not only is Gallagher as good (well,maybe,almost as good)
as Frank Mc Court, but he clearly has more of a classical
ear than Frank's kid brother, the redoubtable Malachy.

In his book, ”A Monk Swimming", Malachy recounts how as a
kid he used to think that the words in the Hail Mary,
"amongst women" were really "a monk swimming".

Well in his short story, “Oremus", Gallagher recalls how
even at the age of six and a half years he was a
"precocious" reader and had read the “Roman legends about
the twins Romulus and Remus". At the same time he had
learned to be an Altar Boy and to give the responses in
Latin (before Vatican II allowed the Mass to be said in
English). On the first morning he served Mass by himself,
he noticed that the priest kept bowing to the altar and
saying "Oremus" (let us pray), so little  Bryan kept
responding “O Romulus".

One of my favorite stories is “Clerical Error", because it
brought back memories of mighty football clashes between
Kinawley and Derrylin.

A new parish priest had become upset by what he regarded
was  the poor standard of Gaelic football in Derrylin, so
he announced at Sunday Mass he was going to bring a team of
college boys to teach the natives how to play: “They will
demonstrate the finer skills of Gaelic football he said.
The following Sunday the college boys arrived by bus, a
thing unheard of in the Forties. They were immaculately
togged out in proper football kit. Tall and lithe, they ran
down the stony lane to the field fisting the ball to each
other, taking great athletic leaps in the air and solo
running with insolent ease.

Awaiting them were the men of the Harps. They had arrived
on bicycles, still dressed in their Sunday suits. Many wore
caps, and they were now togging out behind the whins that
grew on the bank of the small river that flowed round the
foot of the field. Off came the caps, then the upper-body
clothing, coat, waistcoat, tie, detachable collar, shirt,
vest. Some of them looked curiously like pandas, with
sunburnt arms and necks contrasting with their fish-white
bodies. Then it was on with the jersey, and immediately
back on with the cap as if it were a protective talisman.

Legs that had not seen daylight since the previous match
were revealed as the long johns came off, and behind the
knees there was frequently a rich delta of alluvial dirt.
Many wore their everyday socks supported below the knee by
suspenders. These were the men slowed by years of hard
physical work but underneath the white skin, corded muscles
rippled and they exuded an air of silent menace.

They didn't run on to the field. They walked, with the air
of men who have an important parochial duty to perform,
like taking up the Sunday collection. The crowd was the
biggest ever seen at a local football match. They welcomed
their heroes with wild yells. The excitement was
tremendous. It was clear to all except the priest what was
going to happen."

Suffice to say,  those "college boys" were given a lesson
in "country" football, Derrylin-style.  It would have been
the only time in history that Kinawley would have supported
Derrylin!  Ah, those were the days: “T'was a joy then to
be alive. But to be young was very heaven", as Wordsworth
put it best.

In the 40's and 50's in Fermanagh, a school teacher was
called “Master". Bryan Gallagher is still a master -- a
master of the Short Story. This is a little gem of a book.

"Barefoot in Mullyneeny" can be purchased for $25 (plus
$10 for airmail postage and handling ) from :

Gregory Carr, Bookseller
Read Ireland
392 Clontarf Road,
Clontarf, Dublin 3, Ireland
Tel & Fax: +353-1-853-2063
email: or


Father Sean Mc Manus is the president of the Capitol Hill-
based Irish National Caucus.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Daft Ban Slows Progress

Daft Ban Slows Progress

Letters to the Editor
Irish Voice. November 28, 2005

Niall O'Dowd nailed the U.S. fundraising ban on
Gerry Adams in the editorial "Perils of Megaphone
Diplomacy" in last week's issue.

The ban was, indeed, a "daft move”. The Irish
National Caucus, making its very first criticism
of President Bush, branded the ban a "deceitful
betrayal and a stab in the back."

But maybe the real problem with the ban is that
it has trivialized the whole Northern Ireland
policing issue (the single most important issue
of all), reducing it to a matter of dollars and

If, as appears, President Bush imposed the ban to
put pressure on Adams to join the Police Board,
the only pressure that will be put on Adams is
pressure from his own people not to give in, or
be seen to give in, to such "daft" punitive

Thus, instead of speeding Sinn Fein's acceptance
of the new police service, the PSNI, the Bush
administration has maybe only succeeded in
slowing it down. Talk about the law of unintended

I have publicly praised Mitchell Reiss, special
envoy for Northern Ireland, many times. But this
daft decision has trivialized the very issue in
which he has invested so much time.
And when vital issues are trivialized, Northern
Ireland is the loser, as history amply

Father Sean Mc Manus
Irish National Caucus
P.O. Box 15128
Capitol Hill
Washington, D.C. 20003-0849

Spicers Trophy Video

Spicer's Trophy Video

The Irish Echo deserves the gratitude of all concerned
American tax-payers for doggedly pursuing   one of the
greatest tax rip-offs in recent times: the $293 Million
handout   the Bush Administration lavished on the Aegis
Defense Services headed by the notorious Tim Spicer.

Spicer  -- a former terrorist in Northern Ireland, Sierra
Leone and Papua New Guinea -- is now a mercenary, a gun for
hire, in Iraq.

The Bush Administration handout is the largest contract
ever given to " private contractors" in Iraq. Bush bye-
passed American contractors far more qualified and less
ethically challenged than the awful Spicer, a modern-day
Black and Tan.

For months, the Irish National Caucus and the Pat Finucane
Center of Derry have been warning that Spicer would come
back to bite the hand (Bush's) that fed it. And he has done
that with a vengeance, as Ray O' Hanlon outlined in his
article "Belfast, now Baghdad? Uproar over Iraq shootings
linked to Spicer company"(November 30-December 6).

O'Hanlon grippingly wrote "The London-published Sunday
Telegraph newspaper reported that a "trophy video" appeared
to show security guards in Baghdad "randomly shooting Iraqi
civilians.  The video, which has been seen by the Echo,
shows four separate clips in which automatic fire is
directed from the rear of an SUVŠ At one point a spent
bullet round appears in the video camera lens inside the
SUV. Voices speaking English are also heard inside the SUVŠ
The four clips are accompanied by an Elvis Presley
soundtrack [Mystery Train]".

Your hard-earned tax dollars at work in Iraq.

The video was first posted on a Web site belonging to a
former employee of Aegis Defense Services. And Aegis has
stated it has established a formal board of inquiry. That
should instill a lot of confidence in Irish-Americans
familiar with all those British inquires in Northern
Ireland over the past 30 years!

And Tom Griffin has written in that, "The
video had been available for some months at, an unofficial Web site whose
existence was originally only known to employees of Aegis
and other contractors."
(Trophy Video Could Prove Costly for Aegis. December 2)

Surely the US congress should not stand for this? Surely
taxpayers should not tolerate their dollars being used by
the Bush administration to subsidize Spicer's terrorism in

Whatever happened to the alleged Bush doctrine, " If you
fund terrorism, you are a terrorist"?

Spicer was the officer in charge of the Scots Guards
regiment in Belfast when it gunned down innocent and
unarmed teenager Peter McBride in September 1992.Spicer
defended that act of state-terrorism and helped to get the
killers re-admitted to the British Army after they served a
few years in prison for the murder.  And now Black and Tan -
Spicer continues his killing ways in Iraq, courtesy of
President Bush's handout of taxpayer's dollars.

Shame. Shame. Shame.

Father Sean Mc Manus
Irish National Caucus
P.O. Box 15128
Capitol Hill
Washington, D.C. 20003-0849