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.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Open Letter to Dr Mitchell Reiss



Dr. Mitchell Reiss
Special Envoy for Northern Ireland
U.S. Department of State
2201 C St., NW Washington, DC 20520
Wednesday, February 22, 2006.

Dear Mitchell,

This is " An Open Letter"

As you know, I have many times privately and
publicly expressed my appreciation for your good
work on the Irish Peace-Process.

But you also know I have constantly tried to
explain that the one thing Catholics in Northern
Ireland cannot stand -- about the way officialdom
treats them -- is "the double standard"(real or
perceived). And the specter of that double
standard also inflames Irish-Americans.

Now, however, I am forced to accept that my
humble efforts have singularly failed, as the
Bush Administration increasingly appears tone
deaf on this matter.

President Bush embraces (no visa restrictions)
Dr. Paisley, who has spent 60 years of his
80-year life trying to keep Catholics at the back
of the bus, and the last 10 years trying to wreck
the Irish peace-process and the Good Friday
Agreement. Yet President Bush refuses to embrace
(visa restrictions) Gerry Adams, who more than
any other person has made the Irish peace-process
and the Good Friday Agreement possible!

Surely you can see what's wrong with that
picture? Surely political correctness alone
(whether one agrees or disagrees with that
current coin of the realm) should have dictated

Therefore the question ineluctably arises, " Why
is President Bush so desensitized on the
Irish-Catholic issue "? Didn't his famous visit
to Bob Jones University, Dr. Paisley's main
American sponsor, teach him anything? Or has the
extreme fundamentalist wing of the U.S.
Republican Party so captured the President's ear
that he actually wants to be seen as endorsing
Paisley's anti-Catholicism? This, of course,
would not have become an issue if the President
were seen to be even-handed, embracing equally
all the political Parties in Northern Ireland. It
has been forced upon us as an issue by the
President's perceived double standard and
apparent overt bias.

I enclose yet another article by Brian Feeney
("SF won't make the same mistake twice." The
Wednesday Column. Irish News. Wednesday",
February 22, 2006.) regarding the ongoing
concerns about the PSNI.

As you well know, Mr. Feeney is a former SDLP
elected official, not a member of the IRA or even
a member of Sinn Fein. (I feel I have to
emphasize this, because sometimes it appears to
me that the Bush Administration and your good
self seem to act as if you thought only Irish
Republicans have problems with the PSNI). Mr.
Feeney states, among other things, " ... those
same transient British politicians have not
picked up the growing anger and frustration among
nationalists at the refusal of the PSNI or anyone
else in authority to deal with loyalist terrorism
and the evidence of continuing collusion between
the police and loyalists who have murdered both
Catholics and Protestants since the Good Friday

You have put restrictions on Mr. Adams's visa
because you are trying to force (blackmail?) Sinn
Fein into endorsing the PSNI. Such tactics seem
to trivialize the whole vitally important issue
of creating an acceptable police for Northern
Ireland -- a police service that is "fair and
impartial, free from partisan political control;
accountable, both under the law for its actions
and to the community it serves..." as the Good
Friday Agreement envisioned.

Mr. Feeney's article helps to explain Sinn
Fein's well-known difficulties with the PSNI and
elaborates on their conditions for endorsing the

But setting aside, for the moment, the issue of
Sinn Fein's position on the police, could it not
be argued that Dr. Paisley is even more opposed
to the PSNI than Sinn Fein? After all, Dr.
Paisley totally opposed any change to the old
RUC, vigorously fought Patten, gleefully trounced
David Trimble for allegedly colluding in the
demise of the RUC, and still advocates, in
effect, not an acceptable police service but a
Protestant militia , which would continue to be
the armed wing of Unionism, keeping uppity
Catholics in their place... And for this, the
Bush Administration embraces him!

Now, Mitchell, needless to say, I am not
advocating that Dr. Paisley be shunned (indeed I
have " embraced " him myself). I am advocating
that the Bush Administration shuns the double
standard and returns to being an honest broker in
the Irish peace-process -- being even-handed, not
taking sides or being seen as the Recruiting
Sergeant for the PSNI.

Is that too much for Irish-Americans to expect as
we approach St. Patrick's Day?


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


SF won't make the same mistake twice
Irish News. Wednesday, February 22, 2006.

The Wednesday Column
By Brian Feeney

So Sinn Fein won't be endorsing the PSNI or
joining the Policing Board any time soon. As
Gerry Adams pointed out on Saturday, there's not
much likelihood of the legislation being passed
and the DUP agreeing to accept the democratic
decision of the vast majority of people on this
island before the new Policing Board is up and
running in April.

Adams is quite right to tie this all into a package because
self-evidently that's what it is.

Joining the Policing Board before the legislation
is through Westminster would be like going to the
bookies to collect your winnings with your horse
in the final furlong of a steeplechase. Sinn Fein
have been badly burnt by the double-dealing of
the British administration here on the on the run
legislation. They're not going to make the same
mistake twice in six months. Anyway, the DUP's
not even talking to Sinn Fein.

That aside, there are many other considerations
which prevent Sinn Fein from endorsing the PSNI.
Our visiting British rulers conveniently forget
SF stood for election last May and received an
increased vote and an extra MP on a manifesto
committing them to withhold support from policing
until there is new legislation allowing
devolution of justice and police powers to a
northern executive.

Perhaps just as important, those same transient
British politicians have not picked up the
growing anger and frustration among nationalists
at the refusal of the PSNI or anyone else in
authority to deal with loyalist terrorism and the
evidence of continuing collusion between the
police and loyalists who have murdered both
Catholics and Protestants since the Good Friday

Just as disquieting is the
revolving-door policy operated by the courts here
when loyalists are arraigned. There is a manifest
imbalance in giving bail to loyalists compared to
republicans. Even worse is the failure of the
prosecution service and the Assets Recovery
Agency to act against prominent loyalists except
when one of their rivals kills them.

It is well known that one of the reasons for this
failure is that the self-proclaimed shiny new
police are still protecting loyalist informers
taken on the payroll, in some cases more than a
decade ago. Everyone knows the fruitless efforts
of Mr McCord to get the UVF killers of his son,
men personally known to him, prosecuted. Equally
well known is that the police are protecting a
UVF man in Mount Vernon who has killed maybe as
many as a dozen people in his murderous career.
How many other informers?

We now hear that the police took back on the
payroll their agent, the notorious Greysteel and
Castlerock killer, Torrens Knight, after he was
released early from multiple life sentences under
the terms of the GFA. Is it true? Who authorised
payments to him, said to total £50,000 a year?

Certainly not some sergeant. That kind of
disgraceful misuse of public money can only have
been sanctioned by a very senior official. Do you
think this is the only instance of such
corruption of the administration of justice?
How many more are there?

Now the hopeless consequence of this state of
affairs is that John Dallat, the SDLP's Lone
Ranger in East Derry, is left complaining
bitterly about police inaction in the case of
Knight. His very indignation shows that the PSNI
is not accountable through the Policing Board and
thereby makes Sinn Fein's case.

Oh yeah, sure, the quick answer is that the
Ombudsman is inquiring into this mess, so wait
until her report comes out later this year. Not
good enough.

Why couldn't the Policing Board get anything done
on its own initiative? Just wait until that
Ombudsman's report is published. What a stinker
that will be.

Wouldn't Sinn Fein have looked sick sitting on
the Policing Board demonstrating their own

Finally and perhaps most serious of all, is the
incredibly stupid decision to hand control of
intelligence over to MI5. As if they ever lost it?
This plan will reduce the PSNI to the arresting
arm of MI5 just as RUC Special Branch was. MI5
are completely unaccountable to anyone in the
north and have precious little accountability to
anyone in Britain. Now, why would Sinn Fein
endorse policing here any time soon? They're not

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


Post a Comment

<< Home