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, November 27, 2010


Irish Echo
November 10, 2010

The American democratic system is undoubtedly the finest in the world.

However, every two years it causes the Irish National Caucus to “ reinvent the
wheel” – or at least the Caucus stationery.
You see, since 1980, we list on our letterhead the names of the “Congressional
Friends of the Irish National Caucus”– Members who, in writing, endorse our work and request to join. And there are so many that they cannot fit them on the front of the letterhead, so we have to also use the back.
Thus, every two years we have to update this list to reflect the changes wrought by the Congressional elections.
Because Republicans have won a majority in the House of Representatives, all
Committees will be Chaired by Republicans (and remember it is the Committees that really run the Congress).
This could really mean a huge change in policy – both domestic and foreign,
including Ireland.
For example, in the last twelve months the Irish National Caucus succeeded in ha two Congressional Hearings on Northern Ireland. That by any criterion is effective lobbying. (Just ask any of the big-money lobbying firms in Washington t give their right arm for such attention to their issues).

Needless to say, because the House of Representatives was controlled by the
Democrats, the Chairmen of those two Hearings were Democrats – the excellent Bill Delahunt (D-MA), now retiring, and the excellent Russ Carnahan (D-MO) who was re-elected but who will, of course, lose his Chairmanship of the House Subcommittee on International Organizations, Oversight and Human rights.

So what does this mean for the Irish issue?

Well first of all, it must be remembered that Republicans have a good record wcomes to Congressional Hearings on Northern Ireland.

Indeed, one of the great shames of the Congress is that when Irish Catholic
Democratic Speakers controlled the House of Representatives, Human Rights Hearings
were banned from 1974 to 1995 so as not to embarrass the British Government.
Collusion by any other name!

It took a non-Irish, non-Catholic, Member of Congress, the great and beloved Ben
Gilman (R-NY), to break this disgraceful ban and restore the integrity of the House International Relations Committee (Foreign Affairs).

Chairman Gilman banished the “ no Irish need apply” policy and immediately scheduled Hearings before the Full Committee – leading to passage of the Mac Bride Principles and strictures on the police system in Northern Ireland.

Indeed, one of the most enduring ecumenical and spiritual lessons I take from my almost 40 years of dealing with the U.S. Congress is this: when some Irish Catholic Members of Congress conspired to cover up British torture and murder of Catholics in Northern Ireland, it was a Jewish Congressman who came to the rescue. This is a lesson Irish-Americans must never forget.
Once Chairman Gilman had cleared the way, allowing formerly banned Hearings, the admirable Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) would proceed to hold eleven

Hearings before his Subcommittee – on the British assassinations of Pat Finucane, Rose Mary Nelson, and on police collusion.

And now, gentle reader, you will clearly see the wisdom of the motto of the Irish National Caucus: “Neither Democrat or Republican, but dedicated to getting both parties to stand up for Ireland”.

So what will the new 112 th. Congress mean for Ireland?

We will have to wait and see… Well, hell no, we must not wait. We must be proactive.
All Irish-Americans must act to ensure the Republican- controlled House of
Representatives continues the Ben Gilman policy on Northern Ireland: active
involvement, principled concern for human rights and resolute opposition to all
anti-Catholic discrimination and sectarianism.

God bless America and God save Ireland.

Fr. Sean Mc Manus

The writer is the president of the Capitol Hill-based Irish National Caucus. His Memoirs will be published in March 2011

Fr. Sean Mc Manus
Irish National Caucus
P.O. BOX 15128
Capitol Hill
Washington, DC 20003-0849
Tel. 202-544-0568
Fax. 202-488-7537

Friday, November 26, 2010


Editor in Chief, Fr.Drew Christiansen, claims to,“ bear psychic scars inflicted by the organized defenders of injustice”. (“Of many things”. November 22).

It’s a pity he didn’t get some of those scars from exposing and opposing British injustice against Catholics in Northern Ireland.

As the former Director of the Office of International Justice and Peace of the
US Catholic Conference (1998-2004), he continued the abysmal record of that
Office in colluding (by silence) with British torture, systematic violations of
human rights and endemic anti-Catholic discrimination in Northern Ireland.

Indeed, the Office of International Justice and Peace since the early 70’s has
been in effect the “ ecclesiastical wing of the British Embassy in Washington”. It never seriously, or proportionately to its power, took on the British government.
... “Not respectable to do so, old boy, lest you be seen as sympathetic to the

Indeed, the Office of International Justice and Peace in 1993 tried to sabotage the most effective campaign ever against anti-Catholic discrimination in Northern Ireland – the Mac Bride Principles, launched by the Irish National Caucus in November 1984 to be a code of conduct for American companies doing business in Northern Ireland. That Office conspired with “fronts” for the British Government to host a conference in the U.S., whose purpose was to change the Name of the Principles, neutralizing them and making them acceptable to the British Government. When we got wind of their machinations, we stopped them cold. Imagine the downright cheek and arrogance of that: they never lifted a finger to support The Mac Bride Principles, yet they had the effrontery to assume the right to change their name! Surely another example of the rampant clericalism and ecclesiastical hubris that have brought the Church into so much disrepute.

After almost forty years of struggling to get America to stand up for justice and peace in Northern Ireland, I can say from considerable experience and with
documented evidence that the U.S. Bishops (with a few exceptions) and The Office of Justice and Peace have exhibited a shocking and shameful indifference to the oppression of Catholics in Northern Ireland. And to make it worse, they have never shown any sense of shame over that betrayal. Something psychic may explain that betrayal, but it ain’t psychic scars.

Fr. Sean Mc Manus
Irish National Caucus
P.O. BOX 15128
Capitol Hill
Washington, DC 20003-0849
Tel. 202-544-0568
Fax. 202-488-7537

Friday, November 12, 2010


By Irish Echo Staff

The Irish National Caucus seems to like governors whose names begin with the letter "O." The president of the Capitol Hill-based D.C. lobby group,
Fr. Sean Mc Manus, showed up at a fundraiser in Washington last Sunday to show support for Governor Martin O'Malley of Maryland, who is running for re-election on Tuesday, November 2.
"Martin has always showed solidarity with the Irish cause, and I wanted to show my appreciation, " said Mc Manus.
"I have know Martin since he was 17. Even then he was an ardent believer in justice and peace for Ireland, wanting America to take a principled stand. And I don't just mean governor of Maryland, but president of the United States. He is the best and brightest of his generation," said Mc Manus.
Mc Manus said that O'Malley had played "a key role" as a member of Baltimore City Council in passing the Mac Bride Principles legislation 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. Martin O'Malley is a great American and a very fine Irishman. Irish Americans can be rightly proud of him," said Mc MManus.