Posted By: May 13, 2011

With brother Frank and sister Mary Kate

Hundreds attend book launch

Fermanagh Herald. Wednesday, April 27, 2011

HE walked into the hall where hundreds were seated like a champion boxer to the
ring, preceded by a lone piper, Gerry McManus, a member of the Mountain Road Pipe

As one, they stood and saluted one of their own, Fr Sean McManus, described by Peter
Quinn as, ‘Fermanagh ‘s greatest human export’ for the recent official launch of his

‘My American Struggle For Justice in Northern Ireland’ is now available at £13 a time.

Readers will be familiar with the author’s main claim to fame, as founder of the
Irish National Caucus based on Capitol Hill in Washington. It was through this lobby
group that Fr Sean got successive US administrations to push for rights for
beleaguered Catholics back home and clipped the wings of those agencies that ignored
those rights.

His younger[sic] brother, Frank was fear a tí of what was a memorable night in
Enniskillen Library. He quipped that, while a prophet is never a prophet in his own
land, ‘it is heartening to see he is popular in his own land.’

Peter Quinn, despite the devastating news earlier that day relating to Quinn
Insurance and the Quinn Group, delivered his usual articulate, witty and elegant
address on occasions like these. He was followed on stage by the local MP, Michelle
Gildernew and then came a surprise: Donal Donnelly whose lasting claim to fame is
having escaped from Crumlin Road Jail at the height of the IRA’s 1956 campaign.

Omagh-born, he was sentenced to 10 years but, he was never recaptured. He now lives
with his wife in Dublin. His book, ‘Prisoner 1082’ is his recall of an eventful

He was clearly a fan of Fr McManus: “Not only did he take on the British government
but, in fact, the Irish government and, with his colleagues in the Caucus, he
managed to get President Carter to band the sale of guns to the RUC.

“It was the first time that an American President had done anything of substance for
the Irish.”

It was obvious that all three speakers had read the book (Donal Donnelly twice), and
all three referred to the death of the author’s brother, Patrick in 1958 whilst on
active service, and also Fr Sean’s stickability and tenacity.

To his brother, Frank, it was ‘he is just born stubborn’.

The author himself was brief, as if overwhelmed by the turn-out. However, he was at
pains to point out that the people in the US Congress who had helped him the most
‘were not Irish, they were non-Catholic and non-Christian’. And, that was going back
40 years.

“What do you think of that?”, he asked. “Many Irish-American members of Congress
were blackmailed into silence by the Dublin and London governments.”