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.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Among New York's Best Supporters of Fr. Mc Manus

Ernie Falconer and Jacinta Winters help celebrate the NY Launch

Monday, June 27, 2011


McManus’s book is a lightly written account of his campaigns, and he

emerges as an energetic and skilled lobbyist....[a] very readable

book...". --Irish Times.

"[Fr. Mc Manus] is modest about his success in knocking on and

getting through the doors of the great and the good in American

politics. "It was the song and not the singer; the song being the

message," he said about his forthcoming book " -- Impartial

Reporter (Fermanagh).

" A widely hailed book". -- Irish Echo.

"A hugely important book." --The Washington Irish Committee.

" I could not leave the book down since getting my hands on it, and it ranks as

one of the greatest books ever written for Irish freedom. Fr. Mc Manus is unique

in his courage and struggle against all odds particularly as St.Paul says 'false

brethren'! " -- A priest who worked in Rome, now retired in Ireland.

"A compelling book and story."
Ray Flynn
Former U.S. Ambassador to The Vatican, Mayor of Boston.

"Fr. Sean's book, My American Struggle is A MONUMENTUM AERE PERENNIUS:

a monument more lasting than bronze — a phrase used in Horace, Odes, Book

of an immortal work of art or literature.

In his case, I believe, the book is BOTH art and literature."

Tom Halton, Retired Prof. of Greek and Latin, The Catholic University of America.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Successful New York Launch of Fr. Mc Manus’ Memoirs

Fr. Sean explains "The Struggle"
Barbara Flaherty and Mary Hogan
Ray O'Hanlon

Capitol Hill--Friday, June 24, 2011 ------ The organizers of the New York City Launch of Fr. Mc Manus’s Memoirs can be proud of their work.

A large crowd of “New York’s and New Jersey’s finest” -- dedicated Irish-American activists of long standing – assembled on Thursday evening, June 23, in O’Lunney’s Pub Times Square , to greet and congratulate Fr. Mc Manus on this Memoirs, My American Struggle for Justice in Northern Ireland (Collins Press, Cork).

Apart from Fr. Mc Manus, the speakers were Mary Hogan, National Secretary, Ladies AOH and Ray O’ Hanlon, the Irish- born editor of the Irish Echo.The event was coordinated and chaired by New York based Tyrone-man Owen Rodgers.

Mary Hogan is a rising star in the AOH galaxy. She gave an excellent speech.She pledged solidarity with Fr. Mc Manus’ mission, and stressed that his book should not just remain on the shelf but be studied and used as an essential tool to promote and advance the cause of Irish unity, justice and peace.

Ray O'Hanlon --a natural at speaking as well as writing -- declared he found the book fascinating and expressed admiration at the length and effectiveness of Fr. Mc Manus' work. O’Hanlon is also the author of the recently published South Lawn Plot (Gemma Media, Boston).

Among the distinguished, enthusiastic audience were Leslie Cassidy, relentless promoter of the Irish cause; Mary Elizabeth Bartholomew, First Vice President, Brehon Law Society; Bill Flynn, Chairman Emeritus of Mutual America and Chairman, National Committee for American Foreign Policy; Pat Doherty, Director of Corporate Governance, State of New York, Office of the Comptroller; Larry Downes, Chairman of the Friends of Sinn Fein; Ciaran Staunton. President, Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform; Chip Mc Lean, AOH New York State president; Sean Pender, AOH New Jersey State president; James Cullen, Brehon Law Society; Bob Bateman, a long-time associate of Fr. Mc Manus; and ardent Fenians Liam Murphy and Sandy Boyer.

Barbara Flaherty, who also traveled from Washington with Fr. Mc Manus – and who is the prime promoter of the book – said: “ It is gratifying to see strong, informed women, like Mary Hogan and Leslie Cassidy, take the lead both in promoting the book and advancing the cause of equality and human rights for all of Ireland”.

Fr. Mc Manus expressed his deep appreciation to all concerned: “ It was a wonderful event. I am deeply grateful, and, as always, inspired by the New York and New Jersey Irish ”.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Fr. Mc Manus, Reps. Gilman and Wolff:Together again on Capitol Hill

Fr. Mc Manus, Congressman Lester Wolffe and the Great Ben Gilman
Gilman introduces H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III ( yellow robes) to Fr. Mc Manus ( back to camera)
Congressman Ben Gilman, Georgia Gilman, B.J. Flaherty and Fr. Mc Manus

For many years, Fr. Sean Mc Manus, President of the Capitol Hill-based Irish National Caucus, visited Congressman Ben Gilman (R-NY) who was in office from January 1973 - January 2003. And on June 14th, the two old Capitol Hill friends were together again.
June 15, 2011

The Fermanagh-born priest said “ a prayer for ’' for the former Chairman of the House International Relations Committee.

“The easiest task imaginable – praying for the Great Ben Gilman,’’ said Fr. Mc Manus." Because in the entire history of the US Congress no body has a better record
in fighting for Irish justice. Without Ben, I could never have gotten Congress to pass the the Mac Bride Principles. This Jewish-American is my Irish hero. He will never be forgotten in Irish history. Irish-American owe this wonderful, special man
an everlasting debt of gratitude".
Congressman Gilman was given the Evangelical World Peace Prize award. He requested Fr. Mc Manus to give both the opening and closing prayer. The event was held in the
Gold Room of the Rayburn House Office Building (one of the Congressional buildings on Capitol Hill).

“What made the occasion extra special for me,” explained Fr. Mc Manus, is that the Chairman of the event was Chief Judge of the World Peace Prize, former Congressman Lester Wolff (D-NY) – 1965 – 1973. Lester, like Ben, is a champion of
Irish justice. In early 1972 disguised himself, assumed an Irish identity and brogue, and succeeded in penetrating security at Long Kesh, to get first-hand view of the flagrant injustice of that British internment camp in Northern Ireland”.

The other recipient of the World Peace Prize was H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III (“the leader of all Buddhists and the highest and greatest Buddha in the dharma realm”).
Buddhists believe him to be “the incarnated Buddha … the primordial and highest Buddha according to the lineage charts of all Buddhist sects”).

Fr. Mc Manus added: “It was a beautiful, spiritual and ecumenical event: Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Protestants and Catholics , all celebrating
their common humanity, religious faith and desire for peace, which the fruit of justice”.

When Congressman Gilman spoke, he singled out Fr. Mc Manus for special praise, mentioning his 12-day Hunger Strike outside the British Embassy in April-May, 1981.
And he also urged everyone to, “read Fr. Mc Manus’ wonderful new book” – My American Struggle for Justice in Northern Ireland, which will have its New York launch on
Thursday, June 23 (O’ Lunney’s Pub, Times Square. 7 PM; and its Chicago launch on Saturday, July 9 and Sunday, July 10 at the Irish American Heritage Center Irish Fest.

The book is for sale at --- the only place one can order signed, personalized copies.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Opposition to Irish justice in DC was – Irish!

Andersonstown News Monday 14th of April 2011 By Gráinne McWilliams
PROTESTANT politicians in America did more to advance the cause of Irish human rights than their Irish-Catholic counterparts, according to a new book by the founder of a leading US Irish lobby group. Father Sean McManus, head of the Irish National Caucus lobby on Capitol Hill, Washington DC, was speaking during a visit to West Belfast as part of the Irish launch of his memoirs, entitled ‘My American Struggle for Justice in Northern Ireland’. The Belfast launch, which took place in Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich on the Falls Road, was sponsored by Relatives for Justice and supported by the Ballymurphy Massacre families, who took Fr McManus on a tour of the spots where their 11 loved ones were gunned down by the British army in 1971. The Fermanagh-born priest first came to the USA in 1972 and founded the Irish National Caucus the following year to help advance the cause of Irish human rights at the heart of American government. One of the major achievements of the caucus was the introduction into US law of the MacBride Principles – a corporate code of conduct in fair employment and affirmative action for US companies doing business in the North. It has gone on to become the Congressional standard for all US aid to or for economic dealings with the North. “I’ve always felt that the only thing that the British government really would be concerned about when it came to human rights violations in Northern Ireland would be public opinion on Capitol Hill,” said Fr McManus. “So that is why I’ve spent so much of my life pushing the issue there. We started off without a penny, we had no big money behind us, we were never supported by rich Irish Americans and yet we somehow succeeded against huge odds.” Fr McManus spoke of how obstacles to their lobbying came from the most unlikely quarters. “From 1974 to 1995 US Congressional hearings on British violations of human rights in Northern Ireland were banned, mostly by Irish Catholic speakers of the House of Representatives,” he said. “Tip O’Neill, Tom Foley and others absolutely banned them. We pushed and pushed, but they were banned. The Dublin government and London government had convinced these speakers that anything that would embarrass the British would help the IRA, ergo that’s a bad thing. To me, that’s collusion. “The great irony is that it took a right-wing, conservative Protestant Speaker of the House of Representatives to allow these human rights’ hearings – Newt Gingrich – whereas Irish Catholic speakers of the House had banned hearings,” he continued. “A Protestant from Georgia – non-Irish, non-Catholic – allows them to start.” But the most vehement opposition to the work of the Irish National Caucus was to come from the Republic of Ireland. “The Dublin government was ferociously opposed to what we were doing and set out to demonise every person who tried to raise the issue of human rights in American government,” said Fr McManus. “Our campaign was always non-violent and yet they opposed us tooth and nail as if we were urging US Congress to invade London. They opposed us on the Finucane killing, the Birmingham Six, the Guilford Four and on discrimination in Shorts.” Fr McManus explained how the biggest fight came with the campaign for the implementation of the MacBride Principles. “We launched that campaign in November 1984 and it was studiously and vigorously opposed by the British government, the Dublin government and even by John Hume (the former leader of the SDLP), God bless him,” he said. “At one stage it was opposed by nearly every political interest in Ireland, North and South. Yet thank God we got it passed into 18 US states and it made US law. When people read this book they will be surprised by the opposition we were up against, and very powerful opposition it was too.” On the Ballymurphy Families’ ongoing campaign for justice, Fr McManus said they had made a “powerful impact” during their March address to the Helsinki Commission on Capitol Hill. “It’s very important that they get justice, and that’s why I was so pleased to see them in Washington,” he continued. “They did an excellent job and made a powerful impact.” Despite expressing his satisfaction at how far human rights issues have come in the North since the dark days of the Troubles, Fr McManus said the killing of Catholic PSNI Constable Ronan Kerr showed that there were still very serious issues to address. “My book ends on a positive note ,” he said. “In it I conclude: ‘I am hopeful for the future of Ireland – the whole island of Ireland. Even though, I think, we have still a long way to go. I believe the Union will die on the vine. The only way it can be saved is if the IRA came back into business. One of the great Irish ironies! But it is an irony I hope that patriotic young Irish men and women take heed of: No young Irish person need be killed – or kill – for full Irish freedom.’ “But I’m very grieved by the killing of Ronan Kerr. It should never have happened, it was a terrible act – the wrongness of it, the horror of it. A totally useless, totally futile, totally absurd act. I appeal to those who did the killing to quit their campaign and to embrace the peace process, as the only way forward,” added Fr McManus. ‘My American Struggle for Justice in Northern Ireland’ is available to buy at £15 from all local bookshops and online at

Father Sean McManus returns to Boston to launch memoir

By Toni Earls

President of the Irish National Caucus Father Sean McManus will be in
Boston to launch his memoir My American Struggle for Justice in
Northern Ireland on Wednesday June 8th. The event will be hosted by
the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) and will take place at the AOH
Hall in Watertown, MA.

Fr. McManus’ memoir has been launched in Dublin, Belfast, Bellaghy,
and Washington to a wonderful reception, being called: “probably the
most significant memoir in the historiography of Irish-American
nationalism since Recollections of an Irish Rebel by John Devoy” by
the Washington Irish Committee.

Fr. McManus came to the United States in October of 1972 and went on
to effect momentous change working within his Special Ministry as part
of the Irish National Caucus and laboring to involve the US in the
Northern Ireland peace process. Speaking to the Irish Emigrant, Fr.
McManus said that the US relationship to the peace process was never
easy, but it was vital to its success:

“From the beginning, American involvement has been tricky, but it was
integral to the process. I don’t believe it would have succeeded
without American intervention. I think that is why the British
government was so resistant to it at first. Now they’re pleased with
it though.” He went on to say that although things have absolutely
changed for the better, the process of reconciliation is by no means
over: “we still have a long way to go.”

Fr. McManus, a native of Kinawley, Co. Fermanagh, was born in 1944,
the tenth of twelve children. He grew up in a place divided by the
border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Talking
about his separation of his hometown, Fr. McManus told the ‘Emigrant,
“You can imagine how seeing such a division as a small child affected
me. It wasn’t just a division of my country; it was a division of my
town, of my home.”

From an early age, Fr. McManus was keenly aware of the effect that
the division had on his town, his country, and his life. He lost his
brother Patrick in 1958 when the IRA bomb he was transporting
exploded. Later, when Fr. McManus was serving in Scotland, he went
back to Northern Ireland to take part in an anti-internment
demonstration and was arrested for his activity in 1971.

Fr. McManus is looking forward to returning to Boston, the city in
which he served in a parish for his last three years before moving to
Washington, D.C. He told the ‘Emigrant: “As you know, it is impossible
for an Irishman to feel out of place in Boston.”

Remembering his last visit to Boston, Fr. McManus said: “Well,
surprisingly, it was quite a while ago. The last time I was up in
Boston I was organizing a protest against Boston College awarding
Maggie Thatcher their Ignatius Medal [in 1995]. I don’t know if they
posted it to her but it she didn’t come over here anyway!”

Fr. McManus enjoyed the time he spent serving in Boston immensely: “I
served at Mission Church from 1975-1978. I loved Mission Church.” He
worked as prefect of the school and was particularly pleased with the
way the parish was “totally integrated…it wasn’t just Irish. People of
all sorts were there together.”

This togetherness is incredibly important to Fr. McManus, who believes
in equality for all people above all and has shown that through his
tireless efforts against injustice. He told the ‘Emigrant, “I believe
that racism/sectarianism is a form of mental disease that causes
otherwise normal folk to do stupid things.” He believes that through
education and helping people to overcome their fear, things can
continue to change for the better in the US, Ireland, and around the