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

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Say It Is Not So, President Bush

Say It Is Not So, President Bush

Irish National Caucus
Press Release

CAPITOL HILL . Tuesday, February 21, 2006 --Irish-Americans ---
concerned about the double-standard that has been developing, of
late, in American policy on Northern Ireland -- are looking to
President Bush for re-assurance as St. Patrick's Day approaches.

Fr. Sean Mc Manus, President of the Capitol Hill-based Irish
National Caucus , raises the following question :

"What is wrong with the following picture?

Gerry Adams has spent the last ten years of his life making the
Irish peace-process possible. The Reverend Ian Paisley has spent the
last ten years trying to wreck the Irish peace-process, and he has
spent the last sixty years of his 80-year life trying to keep
Catholics in Northern Ireland at the back of the bus.

Yet President Bush puts restrictions on Adams's visa, but gives
Paisley carte blanch. Is that fair? What could possibly explain it?
Is President Bush doing a favor, again, for the Bob Jones University,
Paisley's main American sponsor ?

Or, God forbid, could it be a modern-day example of anti-Catholicism,
which the famous American historian Arthur Schlesinger Sr. has termed
''the deepest bias in the history of the American people".

Only President Bush can answer that.
President Bush, please say it is not so".


Fr. Sean Mc Manus
Irish National Caucus
Capitol Hill
Washington, DC 20003

Monday, February 20, 2006

The Old Colonial Cringe

That Old Colonial Cringe

The Irish Echo is to be congratulated for it's Editorial, "
Celebrating the Rising" (February 15 -21) in which it, oh so
refreshingly, stated: "One of the best things about Irish
Americans is their self-confidenceŠ Irish-Americans rarely suffer
from the inferiority complex that still exists in Ireland. The
"post-colonial cringe" is a stranger here. Š That is why the
current debate in Ireland about whether it is appropriate for the
Irish government to celebrate the 1916 Easter Rising seems almost
amusing from this side of the Atlantic."

I love that phrase " post-colonial cringe".

Some years ago, the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, in an
article in the NY Daily News reminded us that theorists of
colonialism point out that it can take up to three hundred years
for oppressed people to shake off what the oppressor had brain-
washed them with --- the oppressed can subconsciously
internalize the demeaning lies of the oppressor (which may be
the worst part of oppression).

I just thought it was rather ironic for Moynihan to be pointing
this out, as I always saw him as a perfect example of the " post-
colonial cringe". That is why, while essentially agreeing with
your statement, "Irish-Americans rarely suffer from the
inferiority complex that still exists in Ireland", I would ,
based on my experience, have to add, ' except for some Irish
Members of the Congress and some Irish members of the U.S.
Catholic Hierarchy, especially at the beginnings of The

Cringing Members of Congress

When I came to the United States in October 1972 and started
lobbying Irish Members of Congress and Irish members of the U.S.
Catholic Hierarchy (which I naively thought would be the two most
obvious " constituencies"). I was stopped in my tracks, set back
on my heels, by the " colonial cringe". Apart from some honorable
exceptions, many of these folks did not want to know. They were
fearless on many other international issues, but when it came to
"Mother England" they were silent. Now admittedly the shameful
stance of the Dublin governments in those early years made it
easier for them to be silent."Father Sean, how can I be more
patriotic than the Prime Minister of the Irish Republic" was Tip
O'Neill's favorite dodge. " That wouldn't be hard", was always
my response to him. However, it must be said that Tip was never
as bad as Moynihan. Some of the obvious Irish names in Congress
were blackmailed into silence lest in criticizing the British
they would be cast as IRA supporters

That is why in the early days we had to reach out to the non-
Irish Members of Congress -- to Biaggi, Fish, Gilman, etc. God
bless them. And of the three named here, only Biaggi was
Catholic.Thank God for the Black, Jewish and Protestant Members
of Congress.

Cringing Bishops

And the U.S. Catholic Hierarchy might as well have been a bunch
of heretics because they simply, in practice, ignored the
teaching of the Catholic Church regarding justice and peace, when
it came to Northern Ireland. To remind you, the Church teaches:
" Action on behalf of justice Š is a CONSTITUTIVE DIMENSION OF
THE PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL'. (Justice in the World. World Synod
of Bishops. November 30, 1971).

There were, however, honorable exceptions: the late Bishop
Thomas Drury of Corpus Christi, Texas; Bishop Mark Hurly, Santa
Rosa, Ca.; and Cardinal O'Connor of New York, to name some.
(Cardinal O'Connor famously refused to be silenced by the pro-
British lobbying of Garret FitzGerald).

Here, too, it must be admitted, the shameful position of the
Irish Hierarchy ( Cardinal O'Fiaich excepted)regarding British
injustice in Northern Ireland made it easier for the U.S. Bishops
to dodge the issue.
Let me give an example that perfectly illustrates this point:

In August 1979, the Irish National Caucus led a successful
campaign to have a ban put on the sale of U.S. weapons to the
RUC. Later on in January 1981 a delegation of top Bishops met
President Reagan to urge him to continue the ban on military aid
to El Salvador.

I wrote to them, urging them to also urge President Reagan to
continue the ban on the sale of US weapons to the RUC. They
responded: "Š We have known of your position [on the RUC] for
some timeŠ In the case of El Salvador, we have been encouraged to
take what action we have taken by the local hierarchy. We have
not, at this time, received such encouragement from the Irish
hierarchy on the subject you have brought to our attentionŠ"

Needless to say, the Bishops took no action... It was enough to
make a man become Protestant!

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

Monday, February 06, 2006

Michael McDowell Silent As British Duplicity Exposed

Michael McDowell Silent As British Duplicity Exposed

by Eoin Ó Murchú
Village. Ireland's Current Affairs Weekly
Thursday, December 29, 2005

As our political parties jostle each other to show who is the
most anti-Sinn Féin of them all, in the real world the battle is
being lost. The Good Friday Agreement is going under.

Wasn't it curious that Michael McDowell, the stalwart defender of
the state's integrity and self-proclaimed champion of its
republican ambitions, had nothing to say about the Stormontgate
affair, an episode that shows the British government as
hopelessly duplicitous or haplessly unable to control their
security apparatuses?

This is not a clever point: it's a very serious issue. How can
the British be trusted if this is the way they behave?

Of course, Sinn Féin have been hammering this point for three
years, denouncing the securocrats, as they call them. And the
more they have denounced them and called on the British
government to impose control over them, the more have Sinn Féin
been derided, and the more stentorian has become Michael
McDowell's bark in blaming the republicans for all the problems
of the peace process.

On top of that, there is the current US administration urging the
British and the unionist parties to refuse to re-establish the
institutions until Sinn Féin accept the "legitimacy" of a police
force that behaves in such a partisan political way.

Does it really matter that there's a feud going on between the
RUC Special Branch and the MI5 intelligence service? Does it
matter that Hugh Orde is outside the loop? But surely it matters
when the normally voluble Michael McDowell gives Hugh Orde a
polite hearing for his ridiculous efforts to justify the

We do know that if a republican agent in the ranks of British
intelligence had been unmasked, the heavens would be shaking
still with Michael McDowell's denunciations.

The question is what is more important to Michael McDowell - to
see Government policy on the establishment of the Good Friday
institutions brought to fruition, or to wage his own private war
against Fine Gael for the anti-Sinn Féin vote?

And even still, despite these revelations that show that Britain
has not played with a straight deck, none of the parties can
bring themselves publicly to denounce this perfidy, while all are
at pains to insist that they won't share coalition power with
Sinn Féin after the election.

Sinn Féin's policies are certainly more radical and leftwing than
Labour's, but it's only a matter of degree - and perhaps of
integrity in being willing to insist on them. Their policies on
liberal issues are indistinguishable from those of the liberal
wing of Fine Gael. Yet both Fine Gael and Labour have
categorically ruled out Sinn Féin as potential government
partners. They have not so ruled out the PDs, a party with less
than 40 per cent of the support that Sinn Féin enjoys, a party
that puts party before country, as their reaction to the
Donaldson revelations show, that squeezes the poor to make the
rich better off, and that openly boasts of its Thatcherism.

Meanwhile, as the parties jostle each other to show who is the
most anti-Sinn Féin of them all, in the real world the battle is
being lost. The Good Friday Agreement is going under.

Bertie Ahern still insists that he has a special relationship
with Tony Blair, and that, angry as he is about the Donaldson and
Stormontgate affairs, it would be foolish to place that
relationship in jeopardy.

But a cursory examination of the unionist position shows that for
them Blair is already yesterday's man. They are preparing their
positions for the advent of Gordon Brown, and where will he

It's wishful thinking on their part to imagine that Brown, as a
dour Scottish Presbyterian, is inclined the unionist way. He is
more likely to be tired of paying these ingrate spongers for a
higher standard of living than they earn themselves. It's very
easy to see Brown pulling the financial plug on them, though the
unionists are so sunk in sectarian hatred of Catholics that even
that might not concentrate their minds.

But if Brown is to play a more positive role, and be an active
proponent of a way forward that culminates logically in a British
withdrawal from Ireland, then we will have to work for that, and
our political parties will have to start arguing for it.

For Gordon Brown can recognise hypocrisy and political humbug as
well as the next, and he will only get interested in the Irish
question if he has no choice. For Brown has always asked one
simple question: do the Irish people want reunification, and are
they prepared to pay for it? I believe the Irish people do want
reunification, but I don't believe that the parties, apart from
Sinn Féin, do. And I certainly don't believe that either the
Government, or Rainbow options, are willing to pay for it.

But when Brown succeeds Blair, Britain is going to slowly start
turning the tap off. Already under Hain, Britain is trying to
shift more and more of the costs of running the North away from
the British Exchequer to the people of the North. Superficially
this looks like privatisation; in fact it's an "Ulsterisation" of
policy that has profound implications for all the people of
Ireland, North and South.

But our political leaders can't see that. They are too busy
attacking Sinn Féin.

Eoin Ó Murchú is the Eagraí Polaitíochta of RTÉ Raidió na
Gaeltachta. He is writing here in a personal capacity

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

Sunday, February 05, 2006

"Do Not Become A Recruiting-Sergeant For PSNI" Reiss Is Advised

"Do Not Become Recruiting-Sergeant For PSNI", Reiss
Is Advised

A letter to Mitchel Reiss

Father Sean Mc Manus,
President, Irish National Caucus
4 February 2006

Dr. Mitchel Reiss
Special Envoy for Northern Ireland

Saturday, February 4, 2006

Dear Mitchel,

Because of your strong, unreserved support of the PSNI, I
thought you would be interested in the enclosed article
from Daily Ireland, "PSNI won't become representative of
wider society in North until 2027" (Friday, February 3,

On your recent visit to Northern Ireland, you generated the
(January 27, 22006. ).
( )

Many of us wish your support for the PSNI were a little bit
more critical and cautious. It would be a pity if your good
work for Ireland became overshadowed by your exuberant and
uncritical support for a police service about which there
are still many profoundly disturbing questions. Remember
how the good work (however belated) of JFK and LBJ for
Civil Rights came to be overshadowed in the African-
American community by the nefarious work of the wretched J.
Edgar Hoover and his racist FBI?

If you have not already read it, I would strongly recommend
you read "Racial Matters: the FBI's secret file on Black
America, 1960-1972" by Kenneth O'Reilly (The Free Press.
New York. 1989). Permit me to give you a quote from this
very important study:

During the March on Washington, SNCC Chairman John Lewis
wanted to know which side the federal government was on. In
1979, fifteen years after Freedom Summer, a group of
movement veterans gathered in Jackson, Mississippi, to
reconsider those times and to try to answer Lewis's
question. When one of them railed against "the subversion"
of the movement by "the self-styled 'pragmatism' of those
splendid scoundrels residing in the Camelot on the
Potomac," he received " a cheering, standing ovation". One
of the persons in the audience, New York Times columnist
Anthony Lewis, said he came expecting a celebration of
amazing change but instead found bitterness directed not at
"the old segregationists of Mississippi but Northern
liberals and, especially, the Kennedy and Johnson
Administrations. (page 356).

No Catholic from Northern Ireland can read that quote
without profound resonance.

Like you, I too want to see an acceptable police service
("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) but the enclosed article does little to inspire

Nor does the conduct of the PSNI in the recent past. For
example, former policeman, the very brave Jonty Brown, has
publicly admitted that he is in fear of his life, not from
the IRA, but form elements in the Special Branch because he
has exposed their collusion. (See the enclosed article,
'Former colleagues will try to kill me' By Connla Young
Daily Ireland. January 2, 2006").
s&id=19679&opp=1) Yet you have remained silent on matters
like this, while being quite vocal about other accusations
regarding Republicans.

I feel it is very important that you avoid any appearance
of a double-standard. So I urge you to speak out on these
matters so that your good work for Ireland will not be
overshadowed by headlines like "PSNI the best in Europe"
(and, yes, I know you don't write the headlines).

It would be a profound tragedy if the honest-broker title
of the Special Envoy for Northern Ireland came to be
replaced by that of "Recruiting-Sergeant for the PSNI".

Thank you,

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

Friday, February 03, 2006

British Provide Excuse For Orange Bigotry

No Kidding... The British Constitution Provides The Excuse
For Orange Bigotry

Irish News. Friday, January 27, 2006


CATHAL Mc Glade - 'Who cares anymore if the British monarch
is a Catholic?' (January 24 2006) - seems to think that
separation of Church and state doesn't matter and
'constitutions' are unimportant.

Who cares if there was a provision in the US constitution
that forbade a black person becoming president? Cahal would
not... but I would.

For the same reason I care - and all democrats should -
that the British 'constitution' mandates that a Catholic
cannot become monarch.

The anti-Catholic Act of Settlement 1701, still operative
today, has a provision that only a Protestant can succeed
to the British throne and that, if the monarch becomes a
Catholic or marries a Catholic, he/she forfeits the throne
and - I kid you not - "the people are absolved from their

While this law may mean little to the average Englishman in
the street, it has always been of deep importance to
Protestant/Unionist/Orange extremists in Northern Ireland.

It provides the ideological and philosophical underpinnings
for their bigotry and sectarianism.

The deadly logic goes: if a Catholic by law can't get the
top job, then Catholics are not equal to Protestants and it
is therefore okay to discriminate against them. Just as a
provision in the US constitution forbidding a black person
to be president would have had fuelled the flames of
racism, I believe this inherently sectarian law has helped
to fuel the fires of anti-Catholicism in Northern Ireland.

After all, the Reverend Ian Paisley and the Orange Order
have often affirmed that their loyalty is not just to the
British Crown but to the Protestant succession.

What do you think that's all about? Furthermore, an
increasing number of people in Britain are shamed by this
archaic and anti-Catholic law - which is incompatible with
the Human Rights Act 1998 - and are demanding its repeal.
Included are: the British attorney general, more than 150
MPs, the cardinal of Scotland, the cardinal of England and
The Guardian paper.

Sadly, Tony Blair - the only British prime minister I've
been able to respect regarding Ireland (apart, maybe, from
Gladstone) - has refused to join the repeal ranks.

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