Fr. Mac puts pen to paper

Posted By: October 10, 2010

Fr Sean McManus, Fermanagh native and founder of the Irish National Caucus, will publish his memoirs early next year, and they should make for a fascinating read.

For almost four decades, he’s been at the very heart of the US administration, influencing American policy on Ireland from his Capitol Hill office.

When we met in Washington DC on St Patrick’s Day 2009 (I saw him again this year), I urged him to finish his long-awaited autobiography as this is one Fermanagh man whose story we have to hear. With Pat Doherty of the New York Comptroller’s Office, he made the MacBride Principles on fair employment a reality, in the process launching a global boycott of Ford (that’s Fr Mac, not Pat).

Latterly, he has helped Raymond McCord snr. bring his fight to justice to the Congress and Senate, casting fresh light on the legacy of collusion between state forces and paramilitaries. About three years back, he also delivered a memorable lecture on the similarities between the black civil rights movement and our own civil rights and justice struggle.

One of his great allies in his many battles for justice was Congressman Ben Gilman of New York (who has no family links to Ireland). Together, the pair were the scourge of those who permitted or defended discrimination in the North of Ireland. This is how Congressman Gilman sums up Fr McManus: “No one has done more than Father Mc Manus to keep the U.S. Congress on track regarding justice and peace in Ireland. Indeed, I believe historians will record that no one since John Devoy (1842-1928) has done more to organize American pressure for justice in Ireland”.

There will be launches of the new book in Dublin and Belfast next spring.