Time to Activate the Irish Vote in Britain

Posted By: March 29, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C, February 6 1996 — While people in Ireland have been looking to America for help in bringing English Prime Minister, John Major, to task for his arrogant dismissal of the Mitchell Report some in the United States are looking to Britain.

“Nine Unionist votes may be important to John Major but in general elections they are no match for hundreds of thousands of Irish votes in Britain,” says Fr. McManus, President of the Capitol Hill-based Irish National Caucus. The Caucus has for over 20 years lead the battle to keep American pressure on England. “It is time to activate the Irish vote in Britain. That must be done in the first place by the Irish in Britain themselves. But leaders in Southern Ireland, the SDLP, Sinn Fein and Americans should all lend a hand.”

“This may well be the moment for the Irish in Britain. Many Irish individuals and organizations in Britain have courageously and, to their great credit, taken a stand over the past twenty-five years (The Irish Post is an outstanding example). But because of violence in both Ireland and Great Britain many Irish in Britain were understandably forced into silence. Furthermore, the repressive legislation like the Prevention of Terrorism Act (P.T.A.) had a chilling effect on many Irish who wanted to legally and nonviolently exercise free speech and stand up against injustice in Ireland.”

“As one who has lived for eleven years in Britain,” explained Fr. McManus, “I am very aware that it is much more difficult for the Irish in Britain to organize than it is for the Irish in America. But nonetheless I have a feeling that one of the next phases in the struggle for justice belongs to the Irish in Britain. Wouldn’t that have wonderful historical symmetry and symbolism?”

“The Irish vote in Britain could be pivotal in forcing the London Government to do the right thing in Northern Ireland,” Fr. McManus believes.

“What makes the task more difficult however is the fact that the British Labor Party leader, Tony Blair, doesn’t seem to be anymore enlightened on Northern Ireland than John Major. But, nonetheless, it can be done. The Irish in Britain can seize this historic moment,” Fr. McManus concluded.