US Election and the Irish Cause

Posted By: November 09, 2006

US Elections and the Irish Cause


The fact that Democrats have taken power can only
mean positive change for the Irish Cause, but
that has not always been the case.

Back in 1994, when the Republicans seized control
of both he House and the Senate some
Irish-Americans were worried, but not Fr. Sean Mc
Manus, President of the Capitol Hill-based Irish
National Caucus. He knew something that many
seemed not to be aware of.

“To me the Republican victory meant one thing: my
good friend Congressman Ben Gilman would now be
Chairman of the House International Relations
Committee (HIRC), the key Committee as far as the
Irish cause
is concerned.”, Fr. Mc Manus explained.

” Because I had worked, by that time, with Congressman
Gilman for over 20 years
I knew his Chairmanship would mean everything
would be changed: that we would now be able to
break the ban that had been imposed on all
Hearings regarding Northern Ireland by big Irish
Catholic namesŠ And so it proved. In quick order
we had Hearings on the Mac Bride Principles, the
RUC, Collusion, etc. Therefore, in one of those
delicious ironies that the Irish cause is full
of, we had the perfect combination: Bill Clinton
in the White House and Ben Gilman in the HIRC
Chair — a Protestant from the Bible belt and a
Jewish-American from New York. It took a
Protestant and a Jew to turn the US Government
around, whereas many famous Irish Catholics had
sat on their hands, too scared to offend Mother
England. God bless the Jews and the Protestants”.


But Fr. Mc Manus went on to explain that the HIRC
after Chairman Gilman was not the same: ” In
January 2001, Congressman Henry Hyde (R- Il)
became Chairman, and this super Catholic (more
Catholic than the Pope) is no Ben Gilman.
He made the HIRC a cold house for Irish
CatholicsŠ he tried to use his Committee to
publicly lynch the Colombian Three, but we beat
him back very badly. But the horrific thing is
that his vicious action could have set up the
Colombian Three for assassination while in
prison, similar to the way Pat Finucane had been
set up by a British government figure. So
Irish-Americans and all friends of the Irish
peace-process can say good riddance to Henry

Fr. Mc Manus concluded by saying: ” Now while
there are many Republicans who are excellent on
Ireland, none were in line to take over the HIRC
Chair. So had the Republicans held the House
there would have been no positive change there.
That is why I welcome the Democratic victory,
simply because it will now make the House
International Relations Committee friendly
territory again for the Irish Cause. The Irish
National Caucus is not partisan, neither Democrat
nor Republican, only dedicated to getting both
Parties stand up for Ireland.

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