Finucane case central on Capitol Hill

Posted By: March 23, 2009

Finucane case central on Capitol Hill

I had breakfast this morning with the legendary civil rights campaigner Fr Sean McManus and was heartened to hear that he is continuing to raise the case of Raymond McCord, shot dead by loyalist paramilitaries working for the state.

Fr McManus met with President Obama yesterday and was at the White House last night for the raucous St Patrick’s Day reception. When President Obama joked he wanted to take “a pleasure trip” to Ireland — apparently when JFK’s advisors told him he would be accused of taking a pleasure trip to his ancestral homeland, he retorted, “That’s exactly what I want” — he got lots of cheers. He said he wanted to enjoy a pint there before noting that Guinness tasted better in Ireland. “You guys are keeping the good stuff for yoursleves,” he said. “This could lead to a trade dispute.”

It was great to see Geraldine Finucane at many of the events in Washington over St Patrick’s. Fr Sean McManus tells me that last year, at the Speaker’s Lunch on Capitol Hill, she was only one of two people President Bush spoke to on the way to his table. And most members of Congress are now on first-name terms.

With her son John, she ensured the Finucane case can’t be brushed under the table as the Obama Presidency kicks off.

Geraldine (right) is pictured at the Ireland Fund gala with Taoiseach Brian Cowen, her son John and West Belfast Partnership ceo Geraldine McAteer.