Fr. Mc Manus Responds to Hatchet Job by Belfast Telegraph

Posted By: January 30, 2016

Newspaper whipped up “ Unionist fury” by blatant misrepresentation of excellent animated internet video by Irish National Caucus.

The E-video is available at

Dear Editor,

I write regarding your coverage the Irish National Caucus’ Animated Internet Video ( E-video).

When the Belfast Telegraph contacted me to get permission to publish the E-Video, I consented, adding that “I hope the Belfast Telegraph will write about our E-Video in a fair and balanced way. If people over there saw Northern Ireland as The Beloved Community it would be hard for them to dis-respect each other.”


I said that with firm hope as I have been impressed by the way the Belfast Telegraph over the years has tried to soften its image of being “the Protestant/Unionist newspaper”— which indisputably was how it was seen in the Catholic/Nationalist/Republican community until fairly recently.


Imagine, therefore, my utter amazement when I saw your headlines: “Arlene Foster’s fury at US video describing Orange Order as supremacists and claiming anti-Catholic discrimination is rife in Northern Ireland.” ( Rebecca Black. January 29).


“Fury” about an e video that is replete with words and concepts such as “working for justice and praying for peace” ( the perfect Biblical  formulation); “The Beloved Community”; “liberty and justice ”;” The answer clearly lies in equality, unity, nonviolence, and forgiveness, with liberty and justice for all”.


How is that possible? How often in the past forty years have your readers seen anyone urging Northern Ireland to be seen as the Beloved Community— the beautiful concept that  Blessed Martin Luther King, Jr. took up and made more famous.


Apart from the extreme reaction of Unionists spokespersons, Ms. Black’s own words are   factually wrong and misleading:

1.The E-video never says “ anti-Catholic discrimination is rife in Northern Ireland.”


2.The E-video never says, “It claims Protestants have never accepted Catholics as equals…”

Rather it very carefully  and judiciously says : “A significant  section of the Unionist/Protestant community resents sharing power with Catholics (Nationalists and Republicans) because they have never accepted Catholics as equals.”

That is not only a legitimate opinion but one that is consistently supported by myriad facts, figures and documentation. And it’s a point that objective and respected commentators often make. For example, Brian Feeney former SDLP elected official.


I am  really surprised that First Minister Arlene Foster— whom I admire and respect, and not just because she ,too, is from Fermanagh— reacts in such an over-the-top and extreme way.The

E-video makes a reasoned and passionate appeal for equality, justice, unity, nonviolence and forgiveness , and she says it is sectarian. A bit like the crazy talk of her former leader ( while she was still an “Official” Unionist), James Molyneaux, who declared the IRA ceasefire as “the most destabilizing event since partition.”



How can one make rhyme or reason out of that ? Black is white, down is up. Crazy, crazy talk.


Furthermore, it is rather flimsy and weak for Unionist leaders to seize upon the unfortunate  but obviously  technical glitch whereby the animated E-video seems in some versions to include Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan in Northern Ireland. As if  l — a man from Kinawley parish, which is divided by The Border, in South Fermanagh— would not know there are not nine counties in “the Wee Six.”

I would also think that current Unionist leaders would not want to open that can of worms:  reminding their followers that it was Unionist leaders, back in the day , who excluded their Orange brethren from Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan— abandoning good and true men and women  in the 26 Counties  who had signed the Ulster Covenant allegedly “ in their own blood.” The sell-out to end all sell-outs. The Ulster Unionist spokesperson — without the slightest sense of  historical irony  — says ,  “By and large, I expect the people of Donegal, Monaghan and Cavan will have a canary when they realize they have been relocated into Northern Ireland without so much as a by your leave.”


The Orange Order questions why “why the IRA were whitewashed out of it.” Very simply : there is no mention of any army, police force or any paramilitary group.


Even though the E-video exposes the undeniable bigotry in some Orange quarters, theE- video — with the accompanying Press Release— puts the fundamental blame not on Protestants/Unionists/Orangemen but on the constitutionally enshrined anti-Catholic sectarianism of the (unwritten)  British constitution. Why does the Belfast Telegraph totally ignore this? How is that fair and balanced reporting.


Finallly, while the E-video rightly raises the issue  of the Orange Order forcibly marching in all- Catholic areas where it is not wanted,  the E-video  also declares : “And let’s be clear about this: If Catholic Republicans and Nationalists wanted to parade provocatively through all-Protestant areas of Belfast, the Irish National Caucus would be the first to oppose it.”

Why would the Belfast Telegraph see fit to exclude such an integral and strictly appositional  point?