The James Connolly Irish American Labor Coalition held a lunch in New York on Friday September 14th to promote the McGuinness Principles of Equality, Respect,Truth and Self Determination for Ireland.
The Principles are an Irish American initiative to raise support for the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement including a referendum on Irish reunification.
Over 150 Labor leaders, organisers and activists from the Building Trades, Electricians, Plumbers and Pipefitters, Operating Engineers, Teamsters, Firefighters, Transport workers, Laborers, Hotel workers and more attended and were an upbeat and energetic audience.
Introducing the event, John Murphy, International Representative of the New York State Plumbers and Pipefitters welcomed the James Connolly Coalition initiative for providing a meaningful connection between Irish America and Ireland which supports issues of mutual interest.
John Samuelsen, International President of the TWU and JCIALC President urged those present to seize the opportunities presented by Brexit to support Ireland’s reunification.
He reminded the audience of the words in the Irish Proclamation read outside the General Post Office in 1916 declaring the republic; “supported by her exiled children in America”. He made clear to everyone in attendance, “we are the exiled children” and called for support of the McGuinness Principles named for the late Martin McGuinness.
John introduced Gerry Adams who asked the audience to add their voices to the growing calls for a referendum on unity and praised the the JCIALC ‘s promotion of the McGuinness Principles which are about implementing the Good Friday Agreement’s core issues. Adams said that Irish unity is being discussed widely and that now is the optimum time to raise the demand for a referendum.” Our job “ he said “is to achieve these objectives in the shortest possible time with the maximum level of popular support. And we will achieve this sooner with the help and support of irish America.”
Also in attendance were Mario Cilento,President NY State AFL-CIO, Vinny Alvarez, President NY City Central Labor Council, Bernadette Kelly International Representative of the Teamsters, Bill Lynn Business Manager Operating Engineers and a group from Chicago headed by James Coyne, Business manager of the Chicago plumbers Union.