Congressional pressure needed now more than ever

Posted By: March 22, 2018

                                                                    The Border re-emerges as enduring fault line

CAPITOL HILL. Thursday, March 22, 2018— Irish-Americans all across the United States welcome the Congressional Hearing “The Good Friday Agreement at 20: Achievements and Unfinished Business,” by the Helsinki Commission, under Co-Chairman Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ). The Congressman has a unique and entirely admirable record of holding Human Rights Hearings on Northern Ireland.

Fr. Sean McManus— President of the Capitol Hill-based Irish National Caucus— said: “While, indeed, the Good Friday Agreement has been a profound source for good in Northern Ireland, sadly, its full potential has been vitiated because the British Government and the Unionist/Loyalist/ ‘Protestant’ parties have reneged on their promises—most notably on legacy issues, respect for the Irish language and the 50/50 Protestant-Catholic recruitment policy for the Police Service for Northern Ireland.”

Fr. Mc Manus continued: “As if all this were not bad enough, the whole political ethos has been poisoned by the extreme English nationalism of Brexit, which has the potential of destabilizing the Good Friday Agreement. Brexit’s danger of reestablishing a ‘hard’ Border must be of deep concern. As someone who grew up near the Fermanagh Border with the Irish Republic, I learned to hate that damn Border which not only undemocratically and artificially divided my country but also my home parish of Kinawley. To me and to all Catholics, the Border —imposed by the British ‘Government of Ireland Act, 1920’—was THE metaphor for all that was unjust about the partition of Ireland: the denial of national self-determination, the violation of Ireland’s sovereignty, the gerrymander that made all gerrymandering within the new artificial State possible, anti-Catholic discrimination and repressive legislation, backed up by an almost  all-Protestant police force.”

Fr. Mc Manus concluded: “However, out of darkness can come light. The folly of Brexit has brought the ridiculousness of the British-imposed Border back into stark relief, making it evident before the whole world. It elucidates and vindicates the Banner carried last week in St. Patrick’s Day parades all across the United States: ‘England Get Out of Ireland.’ (One can hardly blame Scotland or Wales). However—pending the inevitable reunification of Ireland— the Beloved Community must be built up in Northern Ireland based generously and willingly on the Good Friday Agreement.”

Mark Thompson, Brian Gormally, and Fr. McManus
Judge Jim McKay, III, Mark Thompson, Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ), Malachy McAllister, Brian Gormally, Fr. Sean Mc Manus