73 Members of Congress Tell British to Begin Talks

Posted By: March 29, 2013

Washington, D.C., October 17,1995

Seventy Three Members of Congress, Republicans and Democrats have written a letter to British Prime Minister John Major urging him “to immediately initiate all-party talks.”

This strong Congressional action was initiated by the Irish National Caucus, the Capitol Hill based Irish lobby.

A few weeks ago Irish National Caucus President, Father Sean McManus, wrote to Members of Congress asking them to write Prime Minister Major. Congressman Bob Borski (D-PA) contacted Fr. McManus and offered to do a “Dear Colleague Letter” — a common letter signed by many Members of Congress. The Caucus then lobbied Members of Congress to sign the Borski letter. The result of Borski’s and the Caucus’ effort was that 65 Members of Congress signed the letter to Major and 7 wrote their own letter to Major.

Congressman Borski told Fr. McManus, “I greatly appreciate your bringing this initiative to my attention and your input on…the letter… I always enjoy working with you on issues of importance to Irish-Americans.”

Fr. McManus said, “Congressman Borski has been a good friend of ours for many years. He has an excellent record on the Irish issue. His Irish-American constituents can be very proud of him.”

Among the 73 who signed onto the Major letter were Congressman Ben Gilman (R-NY) Chairman of the House International Relations Committee, Congressman Jim Walsh (R-NY) Chairman of the Friends of Ireland, Congressman Joe Kennedy (D-MA) and Congressman Don Payne (D-NJ) Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus.

In a parallel effort the Caucus has just sent a Direct Mail package to over 80,000 Irish Amercian households urging them to lobby for the begining of all-party peace taLks. In the package are two pre-written/addressed postcards — one to President Clinton urging him to keep up his good work on the peace-process; and the other to Prime Minister Major (addressed to the British Embassy) urging him “not to squander this previous moment for justice and peace in Ireland. Begin all-party talks immediately”. Fr. McManus expressed satisfaction with the effort. “Between our lobbying and our Direct Mail campaign I think we’ve generated significant pressure on the London Government for all-party talks,” he concluded.