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Bush's Irish Double Standard

Real or Perceived?

An open letter to Mitchell Reiss from Fr. Sean Mc Manus of the Irish National Caucus

Father Sean Mc Manus, President, Irish National Caucus • 23 February 2006

Dear Mitchell,

This is " An Open Letter" As you know, I have many times privately and publicly expressed my appreciation for your good work on the Irish Peace-Process. But you also know I have constantly tried to explain that the one thing Catholics in Northern Ireland cannot stand -- about the way officialdom treats them -- is "the double standard" (real or perceived). And the specter of that double standard also inflames Irish-Americans.

Now, however, I am forced to accept that my humble efforts have singularly failed, as the Bush Administration increasingly appears tone deaf on this matter.

President Bush embraces (no visa restrictions) Dr. Paisley, who has spent 60 years of his 80-year life trying to keep Catholics at the back of the bus, and the last 10 years trying to wreck the Irish peace-process and the Good Friday Agreement. Yet President Bush refuses to embrace (visa restrictions) Gerry Adams, who more than any other person has made the Irish peace-process and the Good Friday Agreement possible!

Surely you can see what's wrong with that picture? Surely political correctness alone (whether one agrees or disagrees with that current coin of the realm) should have dictated caution?

Therefore the question ineluctably arises, "Why is President Bush so desensitized on the Irish-Catholic issue"? Didn't his famous visit to Bob Jones University, Dr. Paisley's main American sponsor, teach him anything? Or has the extreme fundamentalist wing of the U.S. Republican Party so captured the President's ear that he actually wants to be seen as endorsing Paisley's anti-Catholicism? This, of course, would not have become an issue if the President were seen to be even-handed, embracing equally all the political Parties in Northern Ireland. It has been forced upon us as an issue by the President's perceived double standard and apparent overt bias.

I enclose yet another article by Brian Feeney ("SF won't make the same mistake twice", The Wednesday Column, Irish News, February 22, 2006) regarding the ongoing concerns about the PSNI.

As you well know, Mr. Feeney is a former SDLP elected official, not a member of the IRA or even a member of Sinn Fein (I feel I have to emphasize this, because sometimes it appears to me that the Bush Administration and your good self seem to act as if you thought only Irish Republicans have problems with the PSNI). Mr. Feeney states, among other things, " ... those same transient British politicians have not picked up the growing anger and frustration among nationalists at the refusal of the PSNI or anyone else in authority to deal with loyalist terrorism and the evidence of continuing collusion between the police and loyalists who have murdered both Catholics and Protestants since the Good Friday Agreement."

You have put restrictions on Mr. Adams's visa because you are trying to force (blackmail?) Sinn Fein into endorsing the PSNI. Such tactics seem to trivialize the whole vitally important issue of creating an acceptable police for Northern Ireland -- a police service that is "fair and impartial, free from partisan political control; accountable, both under the law for its actions and to the community it serves..." as the Good Friday Agreement envisioned.

Mr. Feeney's article helps to explain Sinn Fein's well-known difficulties with the PSNI and elaborates on their conditions for endorsing the police.

But setting aside, for the moment, the issue of Sinn Fein's position on the police, could it not be argued that Dr. Paisley is even more opposed to the PSNI than Sinn Fein? After all, Dr. Paisley totally opposed any change to the old RUC, vigorously fought Patten, gleefully trounced David Trimble for allegedly colluding in the demise of the RUC, and still advocates, in effect, not an acceptable police service but a Protestant militia, which would continue to be the armed wing of Unionism, keeping uppity Catholics in their place... And for this, the Bush Administration embraces him!

Now, Mitchell, needless to say, I am not advocating that Dr. Paisley be shunned (indeed I have "embraced" him myself). I am advocating that the Bush Administration shuns the double standard and returns to being an honest broker in the Irish peace-process -- being even-handed, not taking sides or being seen as the Recruiting Sergeant for the PSNI. Is that too much for Irish-Americans to expect as we approach St. Patrick's Day?








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Index: Current Articles

28 February 2006

Other Articles From This Issue:

Gratefully Remembering
Eoghan O’Suilleabhain

Another Unjust Execution?
Maria McCann

Sinn Fein Be Warned - The Truth Will Out
Martin Ingram

Who Will Be Left?
Aoife Rivera Serrano

Irish Republican Socialists Show Solidarity with the Cuban Revolution
Willie Gallagher

Queens, New York City, Republicans decry Irish parliamentarian's inappropriate intervention on U.S. immigration bill
Patrick Hurley

Bush's Double Standard
Fr Sean Mc Manus

"Democratic Unionist Pharisees"
Dr John Coulter

A Society That Failed to Protect Its Children
Anthony McIntyre

Unreal Paradigms
Mike Marqusee

The Letters page has been updated:

Dublin Riots


Moon Man?

Independent Workers Union rejects Sunday Times allegation of involvement in Dublin riot
Noel Murphy

20 February 2006

Try separate the wood from the trees:
MI5, Sinn Fein/IRA and the intelligence war

Paul Maguire

Sinn Fein Set To Win … The Neanderthal Derby
Anthony McIntyre

21st Century Vision?
Mick Hall

The Real Betrayal?
Dr John Coulter

Cowardice on Cartoon Controversary
David Adams

Meeting Marielos
Anthony McIntyre



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