Posted By: March 29, 2013




Dr. Mitchell Reiss
Special Envoy for Northern Ireland
U.S. Department of State
2201 C St., NW
Washington, DC 20520

Wednesday, February 22, 2006.

Dear Mitchell,

This is ” An Open Letter”

As you know, I have many times privately and publicly expressed my appreciation for your good work on the Irish Peace-Process.

But you also know I have constantly tried to explain that the one thing Catholics in Northern Ireland cannot stand — about the way officialdom treats them — is “the double standard”(real or perceived). And the specter of that double standard also inflames Irish-Americans.

Now, however, I am forced to accept that my humble efforts have singularly failed, as the Bush Administration increasingly appears tone deaf on this matter.

President Bush embraces (no visa restrictions) Dr. Paisley, who has spent 60 years of his 80-year life trying to keep Catholics at the back of the bus, and the last 10 years trying to wreck the Irish peace-process and the Good Friday Agreement. Yet President Bush refuses to embrace (visa restrictions) Gerry Adams, who more than any other person has made the Irish peace-process and the Good Friday Agreement possible!

Surely you can see what’s wrong with that picture? Surely political correctness alone (whether one agrees or disagrees with that current coin of the realm) should have dictated caution?

Therefore the question ineluctably arises, ” Why is President Bush so desensitized on the Irish-Catholic issue “? Didn’t his famous visit to Bob Jones University, Dr. Paisley’s main American sponsor, teach him anything? Or has the extreme fundamentalist wing of the U.S.

Republican Party so captured the President’s ear that he actually wants to be seen as endorsing Paisley’s anti-Catholicism? This, of course, would not have become an issue if the President were seen to be even-handed, embracing equally all the political Parties in Northern Ireland. It has been forced upon us as an issue by the President’s perceived double standard and apparent overt bias.

I enclose yet another article by Brian Feeney (“SF won’t make the same mistake twice.” The Wednesday Column. Irish News. Wednesday”, February 22, 2006.) regarding the ongoing concerns about the PSNI.

As you well know, Mr. Feeney is a former SDLP elected official, not a member of the IRA or even a member of Sinn Fein. (I feel I have to emphasize this, because sometimes it appears to me that the Bush Administration and your good self seem to act as if you thought only Irish Republicans have problems with the PSNI). Mr.

Feeney states, among other things, ” … those same transient British politicians have not picked up the growing anger and frustration among nationalists at the refusal of the PSNI or anyone else in authority to deal with loyalist terrorism and the evidence of continuing collusion between the police and loyalists who have murdered both Catholics and Protestants since the Good Friday Agreement”.

You have put restrictions on Mr. Adams’s visa because you are trying to force (blackmail?) Sinn Fein into endorsing the PSNI. Such tactics seem to trivialize the whole vitally important issue of creating an acceptable police for Northern

Ireland — a police service that is “fair and

impartial, free from partisan political control; accountable, both under the law for its actions and to the community it serves…” as the Good Friday Agreement envisioned.

Mr. Feeney’s article helps to explain Sinn Fein’s well-known difficulties with the PSNI and elaborates on their conditions for endorsing the police.

But setting aside, for the moment, the issue of Sinn Fein’s position on the police, could it not be argued that Dr. Paisley is even more opposed to the PSNI than Sinn Fein? After all, Dr.

Paisley totally opposed any change to the old RUC, vigorously fought Patten, gleefully trounced David Trimble for allegedly colluding in the demise of the RUC, and still advocates, in effect, not an acceptable police service but a Protestant militia , which would continue to be the armed wing of Unionism, keeping uppity Catholics in their place… And for this, the Bush Administration embraces him!

Now, Mitchell, needless to say, I am not advocating that Dr. Paisley be shunned (indeed I have ” embraced ” him myself). I am advocating that the Bush Administration shuns the double standard and returns to being an honest broker in the Irish peace-process — being even-handed, not taking sides or being seen as the Recruiting Sergeant for the PSNI.

Is that too much for Irish-Americans to expect as we approach St. Patrick’s Day?



Father Sean Mc Manus


Irish National Caucus

P.O. Box 15128

Capitol Hill

Washington, D.C. 20003-0849



SF won’t make the same mistake twice

Irish News. Wednesday, February 22, 2006.

The Wednesday Column

By Brian Feeney

So Sinn Fein won’t be endorsing the PSNI or joining the Policing Board any time soon. As Gerry Adams pointed out on Saturday, there’s not much likelihood of the legislation being passed and the DUP agreeing to accept the democratic decision of the vast majority of people on this island before the new Policing Board is up and running in April.

Adams is quite right to tie this all into a package because self-evidently that’s what it is.

Joining the Policing Board before the legislation is through Westminster would be like going to the bookies to collect your winnings with your horse in the final furlong of a steeplechase. Sinn Fein have been badly burnt by the double-dealing of the British administration here on the on the run legislation. They’re not going to make the same mistake twice in six months. Anyway, the DUP’s not even talking to Sinn Fein.

That aside, there are many other considerations which prevent Sinn Fein from endorsing the PSNI.

Our visiting British rulers conveniently forget SF stood for election last May and received an increased vote and an extra MP on a manifesto committing them to withhold support from policing until there is new legislation allowing devolution of justice and police powers to a northern executive.

Perhaps just as important, those same transient British politicians have not picked up the growing anger and frustration among nationalists at the refusal of the PSNI or anyone else in authority to deal with loyalist terrorism and the evidence of continuing collusion between the police and loyalists who have murdered both Catholics and Protestants since the Good Friday Agreement.

Just as disquieting is the

revolving-door policy operated by the courts here when loyalists are arraigned. There is a manifest imbalance in giving bail to loyalists compared to republicans. Even worse is the failure of the prosecution service and the Assets Recovery Agency to act against prominent loyalists except when one of their rivals kills them.

It is well known that one of the reasons for this failure is that the self-proclaimed shiny new police are still protecting loyalist informers taken on the payroll, in some cases more than a decade ago. Everyone knows the fruitless efforts of Mr McCord to get the UVF killers of his son, men personally known to him, prosecuted. Equally well known is that the police are protecting a UVF man in Mount Vernon who has killed maybe as many as a dozen people in his murderous career.

How many other informers?

We now hear that the police took back on the payroll their agent, the notorious Greysteel and Castlerock killer, Torrens Knight, after he was released early from multiple life sentences under the terms of the GFA. Is it true? Who authorised payments to him, said to total £50,000 a year?

Certainly not some sergeant. That kind of disgraceful misuse of public money can only have been sanctioned by a very senior official. Do you think this is the only instance of such corruption of the administration of justice?

How many more are there?

Now the hopeless consequence of this state of affairs is that John Dallat, the SDLP’s Lone Ranger in East Derry, is left complaining bitterly about police inaction in the case of Knight. His very indignation shows that the PSNI is not accountable through the Policing Board and thereby makes Sinn Fein’s case.

Oh yeah, sure, the quick answer is that the Ombudsman is inquiring into this mess, so wait until her report comes out later this year. Not good enough.

Why couldn’t the Policing Board get anything done on its own initiative? Just wait until that Ombudsman’s report is published. What a stinker that will be.

Wouldn’t Sinn Fein have looked sick sitting on the Policing Board demonstrating their own impotence?

Finally and perhaps most serious of all, is the incredibly stupid decision to hand control of intelligence over to MI5. As if they ever lost it?

This plan will reduce the PSNI to the arresting arm of MI5 just as RUC Special Branch was. MI5 are completely unaccountable to anyone in the north and have precious little accountability to anyone in Britain. Now, why would Sinn Fein endorse policing here any time soon? They’re not daft.