Response to Richard Delevan’s Comments

Posted By: March 05, 2005

(See below for my Response to the following entry in Delevan’s blog. I tried to respond on his blog, but my response was cut off. So I started my own blog. Sean)

Richard Delevan’s sicNotes
A straight shot of socio-political blog with a surreal chaser, from a stray Yank in Ireland.

Washington’s Worst-Kept Secret

RTE has finally reported this morning that Sinn Fein and the other Northern parties won’t be invited to the White House this St Patrick’s Day – something that will have surprised few after the opinion of every law enforcement, intelligence, political and media organisation in the English-speaking world (bar Sinn Fein’s most hardcore supporters) had pinned the Northern Bank robbery on the IRA, and the Chinese Wall between the IRA and Sinn Fein had come down, and the Robert McCartney murder had turned a segment of Northern nationalism against Sinn Fein.

The real surprise is that it took so long. We suspect the reason was a debate going on between London, Dublin, Washington and the Irish American squeaky wheels about whether all Northern parties would get disinvited or just Sinn Fein.

Ironically, there is the tantalising prospect – first mooted by Ireland Today a week ago – that the brave family of Robert McCartney may be welcomed in the White House instead.

Those Irish American squeaky wheels have become wholly owned subsidiaries of Sinn Fein over the years, so it should be interesting to watch their reaction. We spoke to some of the squeakiest wheels yesterday about the prospect of the McCartneys’ trip to America. First was no doubt heartfelt sympathy. But beneath the surface?

“I think some Irish Americans have a romantic view of the IRA that doesn’t fit with the reality,” Catherine McCartney told the Belfast Telegraph this week. “We’re there to tell them what’s really gone on.”

When presented with this attitude from the McCartney women, Father Sean McManus of the Irish National Caucus was particularly scathing:

“If the purpose is to launch a campaign in America against not only the IRA but Sinn Fein, than that campaign is profoundly misguided because it’s going to distract from the issue, and further it’s not going to succeed,” said Fr McManus.

“Despite all the stuff that’s been going on – Gerry Adams is held in huge regard in this country by members of Congress both Democrat and Republican and across the board. The only parallel historically is when Dev came here in 1918.”

“There is huge regard for Gerry Adams – and there are some elements in the media, and the extremist justice minister [Michael] McDowell, who don’t want to hear that – if this is another attempt to denigrate Sinn Fein, it’s wrong and it will not work,” he added.

Sympathy for the family of innocent fathers from the Irish communities some of these so-called leaders of Irish America claim to fight for lasts just as long as it fits the Sinn Fein line.

We wish that these relics were simply consigned to the dustbin of history and rightly ignored. But sadly, they’re still taken seriously by some. Including the Irish government, which granted an umbrella coalition of these groups an audience with its Ambassador to the US last week. One suspects that with some Congressional Sinn Fein fellow travellers to keep happy, the Bush Administration tried to give as much leeway as possible.

One hopes that now the debate is over, Washington will give the McCartney family a platform as a welcome antitode to the poisonous bilge of recent Sinn Fein PR.


Irish National Caucus.
Press Release
Friday, March 4, 2005

Father Mc Manus Responds to Blogger Delevan’s Distortions
Was Not “Scathing” Towards McCartneys

On Wednesday, March 2, 2005, a Richard Delevan telephoned from Dublin and left a message on the voice-mail of the Irish National Caucus, saying he was writing for The Evening Herald in Dublin, and that he wanted to talk to me about the proposed visit of the McCartney sisters to Washington. I called him back.

He told me that he wanted to speak to me ” as I was a long-time respected leader in the Irish-American community”. That set off a little alarm bell in my mind, which I stilled just in case the man was being gracious.

I told him there was deep and profound sympathy among Irish-Americans for the McCartney family, and absolute revulsion at the savage murder of poor Robert and I described the murder as ” one of the very worst of all the many murders”.

I then told him I was very sensitive to the call of one of Robert’s sisters that their dead brother not be treated as” a political football”. And I kept stressing that Irish-Americans wanted justice for the McCartney family. Mr. Delevan, however, kept pushing to know what repercussions the McCartney U.S. visit would have on Sinn Fein and I kept insisting the issue was justice for the McCartney family.

He then said he was not the one who was claiming that the McCartney visit would affect Sinn Fein, but that one of the sisters had declared that they were going to America to straighten out Irish-Americans about the real nature of Sinn Fein. My response was as follows: If the objective is to get justice for the McCartney family, then all decent Irish-Americans will support it. In my opinion, however, it would be a great disservice to Robert’s cause if the campaign were turned into yet another campaign to hurt Sinn FeinŠ that it would be a great mistake, and that, as a matter of fact, it would not work that Gerry Adams had the trust of Irish-Americans and was hugely respected”.

Ironically, when we were finished I asked, “Have you got what you wanted?” Mr. Delevan replied he had and thanked me for very frankly and directly answering his questions.

Mr. Delevan would later write up his report (
I had not realized he was a Blogger, as he had not told me. He did, however tell me that because The Evening Herald was not up on the Web he could not email me a copy of the article but that he would mail me a hard copy of his article as it appeared in The Evening Herald).

In his Blog-report, Mr. Delevan said I was ” particularly scathing” towards the McCartney family.

How in God’s name could he possibly say that? For over 30 years I have often been attacked in the media for speaking up for justice and peace in Ireland (that, of course, goes with the territory). But I’ve rarely been falsely reported or misrepresented by a professional journalist, — even by the most hostile.

Mr. Delevan falsely reported and falsely distorted my position, which is one of total and profound sympathy for the McCartney family and a deep desire to see justice for Robert. He as done exactly what one of Robert’s sister begged not to be done. He has used poor Robert as ” a political football”. God forgive him for that.

Father Sean Mc Manus
Irish National Caucus
P.O. Box 15128
Capitol Hill
Washington, D.C. 20003-0849