Posted By: June 30, 2020

House of Representatives,

Page 6       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

Committee on International Relations,
Washington, DC.
The Committee met, pursuant to notice, at 9:37 a.m. in room 2172, Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC, Hon. Benjamin A. Gilman (chairman of the Committee) presiding.
Chairman GILMAN. The Committee will come to order. Today we want to welcome one of the most distinguished panels of experts on the U.S. Foreign Assistance Program that this Committee has assembled in recent years.



And speaking of bringing all parties together, I would like to introduce our next panelist, Father Sean McManus, president of the Irish National Caucus. I do not think any man has done more to raise the level of our Congressional involvement in the Irish peace process of bringing parties together than Father Sean.
Father Sean was born in County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland. He came to our nation and founded the Irish National Caucus located right here on Capitol Hill to help move the peace process forward and try to advance other important goals, especially the MacBride Fair Employment Principles to make certain there would be no discrimination in employment in Ireland.
Father Sean, I see from your written statement on Ford Motor and other matters, that there is much work that needs to be done. We welcome you, Father Sean, and you may begin your testimony.
Fr. MCMANUS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate the opportunity to testify before this Committee. My testimony deals with how U.S. foreign policy and U.S. assistance can impact Northern Ireland. I am going to make a 5-minute summary of my statement. I request that my prepared statement be entered into the hearing record.

Page 15       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

Chairman GILMAN. Without objection.
Fr. MCMANUS. The very thing the U.S. Congress must realize about Northern Ireland is that it is a sectarian State in which anti-Catholic discrimination is systematic, endemic and institutionalized. That is the basic reality of Northern Ireland.
If the United States ignores that central truth about Northern Ireland, then the United States could find itself subsidizing anti-Catholic discrimination when it gives assistance to Northern Ireland if there are no special conditions and special principles attached.
By all major social and economic indicators, Catholics are significantly worse off than Protestants in Northern Ireland. And this is particularly true when it comes to employment. According to the Fair Employment Commission of Northern Ireland, Catholic males are more than twice as likely to be unemployed as Protestant males, 2.2 to 1, and for females the ratio is 1.5 to 1.
Now, over 20 years ago, the ratio of Catholic male unemployment to Protestant male unemployment was 2.5 to 1 and the female ratio was 1.8 to 1. So, you see in the past 20 years there has been no significant change in the unemployment differential. And this we feel is striking proof that the much vaunted British Fair Employment laws are not effective. I want to give the Committee two quick examples of ongoing anti-Catholic discrimination in Northern Ireland.
The first relates to the famous Ford Motor Company. Ford has a long record of anti-Catholic discrimination in Northern Ireland. Its bad record is particularly offensive because of the area in which it is located, West Belfast, which is 80-percent Catholic. And just last June, the Fair Employment Tribunal for the second time found Ford Motors in Belfast guilty of anti-Catholic discrimination and awarded the victim the highest-ever award given by the Fair Employment Commission, $62,000.

Page 16       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

The claimant’s barrister, the man who was representing the victim, said Ford was ”guilty of staggering deceit of proportions that I doubt has ever been seen on paper in any case before this tribunal.”
The second example is a case of sectarian harassment and it is a particularly disturbing one because of the circumstances. A Catholic woman working for the Agricultural Department was the victim of sectarian harassment by the private secretary of the British Minister for Fair Employment, Baroness Denton. The harassment incident actually took place in the private office of the Baroness and the victim in this case was awarded $15,500.
But then the victim herself was transferred upon the personal suggestion of Baroness Denton, in clear violation of the Fair Employment guidelines that state that if anyone is to be moved, then it should be the culprit and not the victim.
At first Baroness Denton denied she was involved in the transfer, but then the Irish News, the local paper in Belfast, produced confidential documents proving that the Baroness was indeed involved. And the reason, Mr. Chairman, this is so terribly serious, is that Baroness Denton is the British Minister responsible for implementing Fair Employment laws in Northern Ireland.
To say the least, this terrible episode does not instill confidence that the British Government is committed to Fair Employment laws in Northern Ireland. Irish Americans will now see that the Denton case is the best proof of the need for the MacBride Principles. Baroness Denton has proved our point.
Now, Mr. Chairman, because of all of this, there has to be, therefore, some way for the United States to assist Northern Ireland, and we believe that assistance is very important, but there has to be some way to do this without subsidizing anti-Catholic discrimination. And that is why the Irish National Caucus in November, 1984 initiated and launched the MacBride Principles to be a code of conduct for U.S. aid to, and investment in, Northern Ireland.

Page 17       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

I was very proud when this Committee last May voted by a vote of 32 to 8 to attach the MacBride Principles to the International Fund for Ireland, despite, I might add, opposition from the Administration. I sincerely hope that this time the Administration will not oppose the linking of the MacBride Principles to the International Fund. That linkage ensures that hard-earned taxpayer money will not be used to subsidize anti-Catholic discrimination or maintain the unsatisfactory status quo in Northern Ireland.
Mr. Chairman, over the years, there has been a lot of concern that the U.S. contribution to the International Fund for Ireland was not being used properly. But in recent years under your leadership, Mr. Chairman, there has been a definite improvement.
The International Fund for Ireland is now increasingly targeting areas and people of greater need. But there is still an urgent need to attach the MacBride Principles to the International Fund for Ireland. It is your way of assuring that the United States will not subsidize anti-Catholic discrimination in Northern Ireland.
Thank you. And I wish all of you a happy St. Patrick’s Day. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Fr. McManus appears in the appendix.]

Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Father Sean. And with that greeting, I am sure that we will not neglect those problems.