Fr. McManus on German TV explaining opposition to a Brexit Hard Border                                                 And fielding other media questions

Posted By: August 03, 2019

CAPITOL HILL. Friday, August 2, 2019—There has been a flurry of international media attention to Brexit and its danger to the Good Friday Agreement, and to the reaction of the Irish National Caucus.

In the past three days, the Capitol Hill-based Irish National Caucus has received calls from London BBC radio; from BBC’s leading news and current affairs TV show “Newsnight”; from Euronews-NBC, the English language TV channel based in France; and  from ZDF German Television, Washington Studio, a news program covering most of Europe.

Fr.Sean McManus, Caucus president, explained:” I guess they were aware of our famous Irish Congressional Briefings with which we inundate the Congress and thousands of Irish-Americans almost daily on Brexit and other key issues.The former three media programs wanted me to put them in touch with our Congressional Friends. Unfortunately, the House of Representatives is in recess, so Congressman Ritchie Neal (D-MA) and Congressman Brendan Boyle (D-PA) were not available. German TV wanted to interview me on the Irish National Caucus’ campaign against a hard Border and because I am the only leader of an Irish-American organization who was born and reared beside England’s imposed 1920 Border. That damn Border not only divided my country, but also my parish that has essentially existed since the 6th Century: the proud parish of Kinawley, County Fermanagh, placing the other part of the parish in County Cavan—then declared by England to be in a foreign country! … So, my parents, uncles, aunts and all their contemporaries—and their neighbors in Swanlinbar, County Cavan—were born in Ireland, but, hey presto, since 1920, Fermanagh and County Cavan are in two different countries/states/jurisdictions. How deeply offensive, undemocratic and ridiculous is that?

Fr. McManus continued:”In the  German TV interview, I emphasized that Speaker Nancy Pelosi—God bless her good Italian soul and great American heart—has stated recently that Britain will not get a trade deal with the United States if the London government destroys the Good Friday Agreement and erects a hard Border. I also stressed that such a trade deal has to go through the House Ways and Means Committee, which is Chaired by Congressman Ritchie Neal (D-MA) the top Congressional defender and supporter of the Good Friday Agreement and  Irish Peace Process.”

Barbara Flaherty, Executive Vice President of the Irish National Caucus, said:“And, thus, it has been for almost 50 years:when the British, Irish and international media want to make contact with an authoritative source on Irish affairs in  America and especially in Washington, Fr. Mc Manus is the go-to man. The media and others know that nobody knows the issue better, has worked harder and longer than he has, and that he always speaks truth to power. In the words of a major newspaper:’Fr. Sean McManus is the man who put Northern Ireland on the map in America.As head of Washington-based lobby group the Irish National Caucus, which he founded in 1974, he continues to fight the fight over sectarianism and justice – British governments have been and gone, Fr Sean is still here. He famously championed the MacBride Principles which called on US companies investing in Northern Ireland to operate a fair employment practice. It made him a hate figure for Unionists and a constant prick in the side of the British.’(Richard Sullivan. Sunday World. Belfast. January 4, 2018.)

She concluded:”And the late, great Congressman Ben Gilman (R-NY), former Chairman of the House Foreign  Affairs Committee, memorably and authoritatively stated: ‘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.’ And Congressman Gilman was in a unique position to know.” END