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.

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Governor O’ MALLEY and Fr. Mc Manus

Capitol Hill. October 25, 2010 -- The President of the Capitol Hill-based Irish National Caucus, Fr. Sean Mc Manus, showed up at a fundraiser in Washington on Sunday, October 24 to show support for Governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland who is running for reelection on November 2.
“ Martin has always showed solidarity with the Irish cause, and I wanted to show my appreciation”, explained Fr. Mc Manus.
He continued: “ I have known Martin since he was about 17. Even then he was an ardent believer in justice and peace for Ireland, wanting America to take a principled stand. I always felt if he went into politics he could go to the top. And I don’t just mean Governor of Maryland, but president of the United States. He is the best and brightest of his generation.
Martin played a key role as a member of Baltimore City Council in passing the Mac Bride Principles in 1993. And way back in 1983, Martin was instrumental in getting Presidential Candidate U.S. Senator Gary Hart to issue a pivotal statement on Ireland: ‘ The best way, and in fact, the only way to establish a lasting peace is within a democratic All-Ireland context. Regardless of long fostered socio-economic divisions, the fact must be recognized that Ireland is essentially one nation…’(December 27, 1983).
Martin O’ Malley is a great American and a very fine Irishman. Irish-Americans can be rightly proud of him”.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Fr. Mac puts pen to paper

Fr Sean McManus, Fermanagh native and founder of the Irish National Caucus, will publish his memoirs early next year, and they should make for a fascinating read.

For almost four decades, he's been at the very heart of the US administration, influencing American policy on Ireland from his Capitol Hill office.

When we met in Washington DC on St Patrick's Day 2009 (I saw him again this year), I urged him to finish his long-awaited autobiography as this is one Fermanagh man whose story we have to hear. With Pat Doherty of the New York Comptroller's Office, he made the MacBride Principles on fair employment a reality, in the process launching a global boycott of Ford (that's Fr Mac, not Pat).

Latterly, he has helped Raymond McCord snr. bring his fight to justice to the Congress and Senate, casting fresh light on the legacy of collusion between state forces and paramilitaries. About three years back, he also delivered a memorable lecture on the similarities between the black civil rights movement and our own civil rights and justice struggle.

One of his great allies in his many battles for justice was Congressman Ben Gilman of New York (who has no family links to Ireland). Together, the pair were the scourge of those who permitted or defended discrimination in the North of Ireland. This is how Congressman Gilman sums up Fr McManus: “No one has done more than Father Mc Manus to keep the U.S. Congress on track regarding justice and peace in Ireland. Indeed, I believe historians will record that no one since John Devoy (1842-1928) has done more to organize American pressure for justice in Ireland”.

There will be launches of the new book in Dublin and Belfast next spring.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Hearing Focuses on North funding, rights

By Susan Falvella Garraty
Washington, D.C.—At a House International Relations Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights and Oversight hearing last week, the re-emergence of violence in Northern Ireland was examined along with the continuing U.S. commitment towards sustaining stability in the province.
Subcommittee chairman Russ Carnahan (D-MO) led the hearing arguing that the U.S. needs to “see our commitments through” in both the peace process in Northern Ireland and also in Bosnia, the committee’s other focus during the proceeding.
Carnahan said that where he’s from in St. Louis, neighbors looked out for one another, and that’s what the U.S. could continue to do in both Northern Ireland and Bosnia. He said both have come a long way from days of daily sectarian armed conflict and U.S. assistance accounted for some of their successful transitions.
The ranking Republican on the subcommittee, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)voiced concerns about further U.S. government funding for Northern Ireland.
“How much have we spent there, 500 million dollars? “ he queried.
Since 1986, Congress has authorized $500 Million in support of the International Fund for Ireland.
It was time for the European Union to take the lead with Bosnia and Northern Ireland Rohrbacher asserted.
“We’ve drained our resources and we are vulnerable,” he said.
The testifying deputy director of the Belfast based Committee on the Administration of Justice, Aideen Gilmore did not underline the need for U.S financial support in her testimony to the committee. She instead asked for the U.S. to continue in a leadership role fostering political stability and in oversight of human rights.
“We believe that the U.S., as a close friend of both the United Kingdom and Ireland, the two sovereign guarantors of the (Good Friday) agreement is uniquely placed to provide such vigilant support,” testified Gilmore. Congressman Rohrabacher suggested that any lingering issues or a potential return to violence in the North could be avoided with a simple up and down vote to remove partition.
“I may say there are counties in Northern Ireland that would like to be a part of greater Ireland as opposed to a part of Great Britain. Perhaps if there’s a county there that votes that way, maybe they should be permitted to go in that direction.”
“Just a thought” he added.

Monday, October 04, 2010


By Irish Echo Staff
For the second time in a year, a congressional committee in Washington will examine the present state of affairs in the Northern Ireland peace process.
The hearing is set for Thursday, Sept. 16 before the House Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights and Oversight.
“Irish Americans are delighted for the second time within twelve months there will be a congressional hearing on Northern Ireland.” Said Fr. Sean McManus of the Washington, D.C- based Irish National Caucus.
The North will be paired with Bosnia in a session that entitled: “Fulfilling the Promise of Peace: Human Rights, Peace and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland and Bosnia.”
The hearing will take place at 9:30 a.m. before the subcommittee in Room 2122 Rayburn House Office Building, Independence Avenue and South Capitol St. SW.
The hearing will be aired live via the webcast link on the committee website at http:/ The hearing is expected to last two to three hours.
“Subcommittee chairman, Congressman Russ Carnahan is a man of his word. Last St. Patrick’s Day he promised me he would hold a hearing on Northern Ireland.” Said Fr. McManus.
The following day I brought along Aideen Gilmore, deputy director of the Committee on the Administration of Justice in Belfast to meet him. Aideen will now be the witness on Northern Ireland, and an entirely excellent one at that.” McManus said.
“Just last October we had a hearing before the same subcommittee. Congressman Bill Delahunt was then chairman.” Added McManus.
That hearing, he said, was “on British Government collusion in the murder of the young Protestant, Raymond McCord, Jr. in 1997 in Belfast by Protestant paramilitaries. Raymond Sr. was the witness.
“Now within twelve months of that, we have a second hearing. This demonstrates that the U.S. Congress maintains a high interest in Northern Ireland.”