The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Lost Sheep or Shepherd?

Tom Luby • 8 April 2004

Is it just me, or are there any others out there, sick and tired of hearing the bleatings of Fr Sean McManus and wishing he would just go back to what he is supposed to do, which is being a Catholic priest ministering to the needs of his flock of sheep?

Many years ago, when the bold Fr Mac got the go-ahead from the Archbishop of Corpus Christi in Texas to set up shop in Washington, there was at least a certain rationale behind his decision to become a full-time lobbyist on the issue of the North. The Irish government certainly wasn't breaking its back on behalf of Northern Nationalists, the British ruled Washington unchallenged as far as Irish issues were concerned and the Provos, then in a revolutionary phase, didn't want to lobby and even if they had wanted to, were incapable of doing anything constructive.

Even so, Fr McManus's Irish National Caucus has had a mixed history. It has claimed the credit for bringing the issue of equal employment and the MacBride Principles to the fore in the US when everyone knows it was really the Financial Comptroller's office in New York City that really made it a front-burner topic.

Aside from that disputed claim and raising lots of money from Irish-Americans to fund his rather nice lifestyle in Washington, it is difficult to work out exactly what Fr McManus's contribution has been to anything over all these years, aside from being a cheer leader on the side lines for whichever party promised to produce the fattest checks.

Even Fr McManus's fund-rasing raised a few eyebrows. These days it would be impossible to slide a cigarette paper between the INC and Sinn Fein in relation to the North, but those of us with long memories can remember when he and the Provos were at daggers drawn in their competition for Yankee dollars, a competition that caused some in the Provos to mutter and ask dark questions about just exactly who some of Fr McManus's colleagues in the INC were really working for.

The reality is that whatever use there might have been for Fr McManus and his INC has long gone. The Irish government and the Provos peddle the peace process much more effectively than he ever could and let's face it, no-one who matters in America cares a whit about what Fr McManus thinks or says about anything.

Compelling evidence of the INC's utter irrelevance has come recently in Fr McManus's lobbying for the repeal of legislation in Britain that forbids a Catholic from ascending to the English throne. In the name of all that matters, what the heck has that got to do with Ireland, North or South? Unless, that is, Fr McManus is trying to prepare the ground for Sinn Fein MP's to take their seats at Westminster by swearing an oath of allegiance to a more acceptable British monarch? If so, he should come clean. But was this what the INC was really set up to do? I think not! Time to go back to the bells and smoke, Father, and to the archdiocese of Corpus Christi, wherever that is!















Index: Current Articles + Latest News and Views + Book Reviews + Letters + Archives

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
- George Bernard Shaw

Index: Current Articles

11 April 2004


Other Articles From This Issue:


Easter 2004, Arbour Hill, Dublin
Francis Mackey


Good Friday to Easter Sunday, 2 Days and Light Years
Anthony McIntyre


Is there a Republican Alternative to the Good Friday Agreement?
Gerry Ruddy


Bail For Sale - Nationalists Need Not Apply
Anthony McIntyre


Is the British State Neutral?
Liam O Ruairc


Lost Sheep or Shepherd?

Tom Luby


A Person I Admire
Miss O'Dee


Lerner, Said and the Palestinians
M. Shahid Alam


9 April 2004


Richard McAuley - 'a literary giant of our time'
Barney de Breadbin and Eamon Codswolloper


Hear, Hear!
Brian Mór


How Will Paisley's Rise Play in America?
Sean Mc Manus


Other Shoes

Mick Hall


A Septic Needle
Anthony McIntyre


Why More Will Hate More and Less Will Understand Less
Michael Youlton


Save the Hill of Tara
Seaghán Ó Murchú




The Blanket




Latest News & Views
Index: Current Articles
Book Reviews
The Blanket Magazine Winter 2002
Republican Voices