Taoiseach Kenny Reverts To Bad Old Days

Posted By: March 16, 2014

CAPITOL HILL. Saturday, March 15, 2014 — This week everybody has been speaking about the Irish peace process: President Obama, VP Joe Biden, Richard Haass, Members of Congress, etc. etc.
First and Deputy First Ministers for Northern Ireland, Peter Robinson and Martin Mc Guinness were pledging that despite difficulties they were determined never to return to the bad old days.

Sadly, and hugely disappointingly, Taoiseach Enda Kenny did precisely that: revert to the bad old days whereby the Dublin Government ignored The North.
In his speech at the Irish Embassy’s official St. Patrick’s Day celebration, Taoiseach Kenny totally and blatantly ignored The North: not one mention, not a smidgen or a scintilla. His entire term of reference was the 26 Counties: Ireland only and exclusively meant the 26 Counties in that Mayo’s man view.

Fr. Sean Mc Manus, president of the Capitol Hill- based Irish National Caucus said: “As a Fermanagh man,  I found it  deeply troubling. It was a throw back to the worst in Fine Gael history: a total indifference to, even distain for The North. While I did not expect, of course, a Fine Gael leader to give an anti-Partitionist speech, I did expect at least an acknowledgement that Northern Ireland existed. Why could he not have even said something as tame as: ‘ I appreciate the support of President Obama for the Irish peace process, and I pledge to do all I can to work with the British Government and all the parties in Northern Ireland to keep moving  the peace process forward.’ I would have been satisfied with even that minimalistic gesture. Why could he not bring himself to express such basic empathy? How could the Irish Embassy  –whose job it is to ensure that the Irish Prime Minister does not mess up in his speeches in America on St. Patrick’ Day — fail to include a reference to The North in the Taoiseach’s speech at the Irish Embassy’s signature  annual event? It is deeply embarrassing and disappointing. What will Washington political leaders think? They have gone out of their way to show concern, yet the Irish Taoiseach couldn’t care less, couldn’t be bothered to even make a token mention of The North. What is wrong with that picture? What message does that send to the British Embassy? (However, in fairness, it must be noted that the British Labor shadow-spokesman on Northern Ireland, Ivan Lewis MP, was also in Washington impressing everyone by his outspoken concern for, and support of the Irish peace-process).”
Fr. Mc Manus continued: ” If per chance, Taoiseach Kenny just forgot to mention The North, then that’s even worse as it shows The North does not feature much in his heart or mind — as has, in fact, been claimed by respected commentators like Brian Feeney of the Irish News (Belfast).It is impossible to imagine former  Irish Prime Ministers, Albert Reynolds, John Bruton, Bertie Ahern, and Brian Cowen speaking at the Irish Embassy and not even mentioning the Irish peace-process : the most important and hopeful on-going reality since the British Government partitioned Ireland in 1920.”
Fr. Mc Manus concluded: Since the Irish peace-process began, I have  been able to be  grateful — for the first time in my life — for the Irish Government’s key role, as launched by the great Albert Reynolds, God bless him, and as continued by Bruton, Ahern and Cowen. Indeed, I have been encouraged by many individual Fine Gael TDs who — in a break from their Party’s sad history — have been showing empathy for, and interest in The North. It is profoundly depressing that at this vitally important juncture Taoiseach Kenny has so pointedly demonstrated total indifference to my own county of Fermanagh and the other five Counties in Northern Ireland.  Irish-Americans worth their salt cannot stand for this… Not at any time, and not especially on St. Patrick’s Day.”