Caucus Alerts Congress to Concerns about Stormont House Agreement

Posted By: October 08, 2015

CAPITOL HILL. Thursday, October 8, 2015— As concerns mount regarding the Stormont House Agreement (SHA) — for dealing with the legacy of The Troubles —
the Capitol Hill-based Irish National Congress has been escalating its briefing of the US Congress.

For over 40 years, the Irish National Caucus has helped to give the victims  of The Troubles, both Catholic and Protestant,  a voice on Capitol Hill.

Caucus president, Fr. Sean Mc Manus said :“We want what the victims want : what the Fincucane family wants, what Raymond  Mc Cord wants, what the Bloody Sunday families want, what the Ballymurphy families want— all the victims, Protestants as well as Catholics. Without justice all else  is empty. Only justice can give full meaning to victims, enabling them to move on to a shared life from a shared tragedy.
 It becomes complicated, of course, if the victims cannot agree on what they want.”

Fr. Mc Manus explained:  “It is not up to us to chart the course on this, nor have we taken a position on it.  However, serious issues have been raised which we have shared with Congress.
For example, Brian Feeney, former elected SDLP official, and respected columnist  for the Belfast Irish news has said :”It begins with the unconvincing claim that ‘the institutions have the needs of the victims and their families are at their heart.’No. The needs of secrecy in the Ministry of Defense, the NIO and the Home Office are at their heart…Anyone who believes the Policing Board will hold the HIU accountable is living in cloud-cuckoo land. The secretary of state will have oversight of the HIU regarding reserved and excepted matters….The UK government will prevent disclosure of any material or information ‘likely to prejudice national security (including information from the intelligence services)’. None of this material can be published ‘without the consent of the secretary of state.’”

Fr. Mc Manus continued : “ Furthermore,  my Protestant friend Raymond Mc Cord from Belfast— who has fought a long , courageous battle to expose the British Government cover-up in the 1997 murder of his son— has told me this : “I was with the families from Derry yesterday[Wednesday, October 7] at Stormont. We met David Ford . I walked out as neither Ford or his senior advisor would answer my questions. The draft legislation is going to give killers from all sides an amnesty and have more cover ups.  The legislation suits only the state and those who murdered.”

Fr. Mc Manus concluded : “ To date no one has told me that Brian Feeney has got the SHA wrong.It is fairly impossible to dispute Feeney’s point that the catch-all the British Government  love to use is “ national security.”With that most convenient device, they can , literally, get away with murder— and they have for years and years.”