Posted By: January 03, 2015

An Italian-American leader who spoke up for Irish justice when big Irish- American leaders were too scared

CAPITOL HILL. January1, 2015 — Irish-Americans are deeply sorry about the death of former New York Governor Mario Cuomo.

Fr. Sean Mc Manus— President of the Capitol Hill-based Irish National Caucus— said: ” God rest the noble soul of Mario Cuomo—an Italian-American leader who spoke up for Irish justice when big Irish- American leaders were too scared. Mario was a strong supporter of our Mac Bride Principles campaign. After Massachusetts, New York became the second State to pass the Principles and Mario signed them into law in May 1986. Then in 1992, Mario signed the first Mac Bride Principles Contract Compliance Bill, and made the following statement, which I give for the historical record:

“The MacBride Principles … were issued by the Irish National Caucus in 1984…
In 1986 I signed legislation which required the Comptroller to consider the extent to which a company doing business in Northern Ireland adhered to the MacBride Fair Employment Principles when making investment decisions on behalf of the State. This bill goes further …

— companies contracting with the State to stipulate to abide by the MacBride Principles when doing business in Northern Ireland or stipulate that they have no business operations in Northern Ireland;

— the Commissioner of General Services to determine if a contract should be let to a bidder other than the lowest bidder if the lowest bidder does not stipulate as required;

— that certain noncompetitively bid contracts not be awarded to contractors who do not stipulate as required; and

–that contracting entities enforce the provisions of this bill.”
[Excerpts from the Press Release by Mario M. Cuomo, Governor of the State of New York, on the occasion of signing the MacBride Contract Compliance Bill.]

Fr. Mc Manus explained: ” For the historical record, it must also be recorded that if Irish- American Hugh Carey had still been Governor of New York, he would never have signed the Mac Bride Principles into law because he followed the British Government position of opposing and demonizing the Principles— as did the Senior US Senator for New York, Pat Moynihan; as did Senator Teddy Kennedy and Speaker Tip O’Neill.”

Fr. Mc Manus concluded: ” This is an appropriate time for concerned Irish-Americans to remember that —when it was not fashionable or politically expedient— we had to depend on non-Irish and non-Catholic political leaders to stand up for Ireland— Italians, African-Americans, Hispanics, etc., and Jewish-Americans and Protestants. We must never forget that… It is a grand American story and a fine ecumenical parable.”