Senators alerted to MacBride threat

Posted By: August 24, 2017

Aug 24 at 1:46 PM

All U.S. senators have been alerted by the Irish National Caucus about a threat to the MacBride Principles contained in the Financial Choice Act

 By Irish Echo Staff. New York City. August 24, 2017

The MacBride Principles are under threat from a section of an act that has been approved by the House of Representatives and is now before the U.S. Senate.

 And Irish Americans are deeply concerned with the section of the Financial Choice Act that would, in effect, “most shamefully sabotage shareholder proposals by over 99% of the American people.”

This contention is being made by Fr. Sean McManus, founder, and president of the Irish National Caucus, the lead advocacy group for the fair employment guidelines for Northern Ireland.

In a letter to all the one hundred U.S. senators, the INC states: “That section of the act would destroy the SEC Shareholder Proposal – Rule (14a-8) replacing it with a requirement of 1% ownership of the company over a three-year period (instead 1% or $2000 for one year) in order to be able to submit a proposal.”

 The letter states: “So, for example, this would mean that to submit a shareholder proposal to Apple, one would have to own $7.5 billion in shares —and to submit a shareholder proposal to Wells Fargo, one would have to own $2.5 billion in shares —whereas at present one only needs to have owned $2,000 worth of shares for one year.”

Fr. McManus, who crafted the letter, said by way of elaboration: “This would amount to a flagrant attack on America’s founding principle, ‘We the people.’

“It would outrageously eliminate millions of citizens and the average American from having a say on the conduct of publicly held companies.

“The ordinary citizen, investor, consumer, and stakeholder are dismissed, leaving only the super-rich with any say. What American can possibly condone this? And what member of the U.S. Senate would vote for it— to take away the voice of the ordinary citizen, franchising only the mega rich?  It is undemocratic, un-American, and would further lend credence to the all too common charge that the U.S. Congress is controlled by the 1% mega rich.”

With regard to specific implications for the MacBride Principles – which are enshrined in federal law – Fr. McManus continued: “From a specifically Irish-American perspective, 116 companies have agreed to implement the MacBride Principles. The principles have been signed into law by 18 states and numerous cities and towns.

“And the principles were twice passed by the Republican-controlled Congress and signed into law by Democratic President Clinton in 1998.

“Therefore, this terrible initiative is not only an attack on basic American values, but it will be seen as an attempt to sabotage the MacBride Principles, which have played a key role in promoting equality and non-discrimination in employment in Northern Ireland, thereby making a vital contribution to the Irish peace process.”

The Fermanagh-born McManus stated in his letter that he was “totally confident in saying that the Irish National Caucus is reflecting the opinion of the majority of concerned Irish Americans – Republicans and Democrats alike – when I respectfully ask you take a strong stand against this un-American attempt to silence the voices of ordinary American citizens.”

Fr. Sean Mc Manus