Future Irish and British Generations Will Curse Us If We Don’t Get It Right

Posted By: March 29, 2013

Washington, D.C., March 18, 1998 — “Future Irish and British generations will curse us if we don’t get it right this time” — this was the thought that kept running through the mind of Fr. Sean McManus at the Speaker’s St. Patrick’s Day Lunch on Capitol Hill.

“As President Clinton and Speaker Gingrich spoke, and both totally identified with the Irish peace-process, this was the thought that kept pouring over me,” Fr. McManus said.

“Thirty years ago people didn’t know how bad the Troubles would be, how long they would last, how many people would be killed. But now if we re-descend into violence we know exactly what will happen: Over the next 20 years at least three-and-a-half thousand people would be killed, maybe many more. And we would not be further on then than we are at this moment —

indeed further back.”

“We will never have a better chance. We will never have in place better leaders in Britain, both parts of Ireland, and in the United States. Dear God, if we mess up, we will have a terrible responsibility.”

Fr. McManus went on to appeal to the INLA, the Continuity IRA, the LVF and any who were planning to violently sabotage the peace-process: “Please do not bomb or kill. Every act of violence contains within itself the seeds of endless violence . . . We have 30 years proof of that. Lay down your guns and please embrace the peace process.”

30 years ago Republicans might have thought they could have a “clean” battle between themselves and the British Army. We now know that in practice violence to a great degree takes the form of a sectarian battle in which innocent Protestants and Catholics are terrorized and killed. Violence in Northern Ireland does not eliminate the sectarian divide, but only

murderously deepens it.”