Blair Deserves Support Father Mc Manus on Tony Blair

Posted By: March 29, 2013

Letter Published in Irish Voice. July 30, 2003 – August 12, 2003

Dear Editor,

I strongly agree with your Editorial ” Blair’s Survival Vital for Peace”( July 24, 2003).
Tony Blair is the only British Prime Minister( Gladstone included) in all of Irish history who has both the will and the parliamentary majority to do the right thing to redress the historic wrongs inflicted by England on Ireland… And this Fermanagh is not in the habit of saying nice things about British Prime Ministers.
The Good Friday Agreement represents the best chance for equality, justice and peace in Ireland. And although Prime Minister Blair has made a number of bad individual judgments( rejecting IRA peace-initiatives, canceling the Northern Ireland elections, not establishing Public Inquiries into the state-assassinations of Pat Finucane and others, not moving to dismantle the intrinsically discriminatory and anti-Catholic Act of Settlement of 1701( which guarantees “Protestant Succession to the British Throne”, forbidding a Catholic to be King or Queen of England, etc., etc.) he still remains the best hope for Ireland.
The essence of the Good Friday Agreement is this : the British Government must( for the first time in its history) be even-handed between the two communities in Northern Ireland; the Irish Government must stay vigorously and effectively involved; the Nationalists must commit to nonviolence; and the Unionists must commit to both nonviolence and equality… And there’s the rub . I fear there is a significant section of the Unionist community which is not prepared to accept the novel concept of Catholics being their equal.
But before Americans express astonishment and bewilderment at this denial of equality, they should remember that it was only in 1964 that the US Civil Rights Act was passed — to the outrage of so many in the Six (ironically enough) historic Bible Belt States of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina ,Georgia and Florida.
And, of course, Tony Blair must remember that had President Johnson waited for the White political leadership of those Six States to embrace the concept of equality he might still be waiting.
Tony Blair is a good man with a good heart, with no anti-Irish racism. But he must now move to repair his bad individual judgments and fully implement the Good Friday Agreement.

Father Sean Mc Manus
Irish National Caucus