House and Senate Conference Passes MacBride Principles

Posted By: March 29, 2013

Washington, D.C., March 1, 1996 — The House and Senate Conference (of the United States Congress) today agreed to attach the MacBride Principles to the International Fund for Ireland (IFI). This means that all recipients of U.S. money through the IFI must comply with the Principles — a fair employment, non-discrimination code of conduct. The “reconciled” legislation now goes back to the House and Senate for a vote where it will routinely pass.

The legislation is part of the American Overseas Interest Act. The MacBride legislation was part of the House Bill which was passed in May 1995 but it was not contained in the Senate version. House and Senate bills have to be “reconciled” in Conference, which consists of a small number of House and Senate leaders.

The MacBride Principles were initiated and launched in November 1984 by the Capitol Hill-based Irish National Caucus. Its President, Fr. Sean McManus said, “I always knew that sooner or later we would get the U.S. Congress to pass the MacBride Principles. When our best ally, Congressman Ben Gilman (R-NY) became Chairman of the House International Relations Committee, I knew we would certainly prevail. But it could never have happened without Congressman Gilman. His record on Ireland is extraordinary and magnificent.”

The Irish National Caucus put on a strong lobbying effort led by Fr. Sean McManus, Rita Mullan, and William J. Smith, Jr. “We just stood outside the Conference room and lobbied the Members as they came in and out,” said Fr. McManus. Bob Tobin lobbied on behalf of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. Nuala Moore lobbied on behalf of the Irish American Unity Conference

“All the Irish organizations deserve great credit. Last week we sent the Members of the Conference a letter signed by all the major Irish American organizations. It proved to be very effective.” Fr. McManus said. “Senator Robert Dole (R-KS), Senator Al D’Amato (R-NY), Senator Hank Brown (R-CO), Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC), Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Congressman Henry Hyde (R-IL) also deserve a lot of credit because they threw their strong weight behind the MacBride Principles.” Fr. McManus concluded.