Ireland And America - An Enduring Connection
Every week Ciarán Quinn the Sinn Féin Representative to North America sends a letter from Ireland. This week he looks back at a busy week in US/Irish Affairs. A week of solidarity, of safeguarding and planning for the future.
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a Chara, This last week has been busy with events in the US about Ireland, so this is a sort of cross-Atlantic letter. On Sunday, there were two events in America commemorating the 1981 Hunger Strikes. In Chicago, Clan na Gael and the Irish American Heritage Center hosted Dr. Ruan O’Donnell, Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Limerick for a discussion and community event. And in Massachusetts, the John Boyle O’Reilly Center in Springfield organized a memorial event that included the planting of a Crann na Saoirse (a Freedom Tree) which will grow and blossom with a united Ireland, remembering the past and looking forward to the future. At the beginning of the week, Congressional leaders issued a letter to United States Secretary of State Anthony Blinken calling on the Administration to “make a public statement of unequivocal rejection of...” the British Government's proposals to cover up their past actions and breach the Good Friday Agreement, and to “work with the [governments of the] United Kingdom and Ireland to resolve this matter and ensure the past is dealt with in a victim-centered, rights-respecting way.”
A welcome and strong declaration of support for justice, human rights, and international law. Later that afternoon, Friends of Sinn Féin hosted a live call with Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald. More than 100 people registered for the mid-day discussion that focused on the next steps for unity, details about ensuring victims' rights and justice, and the latest Brexit news. After a briefing on the latest, participants had time for Q&A, and updates on events and upcoming ways to engage. These acts of cross-Atlantic solidarity are important politically and personally. The support of Congressional leaders and the President is hugely significant. Make no doubt about it, the government of Boris Johnson cares little for our agreements and even less about the rights of citizens. He does care about Britain's relationship with the US. When the US talks he listens. Whether he does the right thing is another matter. Solidarity is also personally important. Former prisoners are always encouraged that their struggle is remembered in the US. My phone always hops when a Congress member appears on Irish TV to defend the agreements. The connections between Ireland and the US are strong and enduring and have never been more important. Long may they grow and endure! Have a great Thanksgiving Is mise Ciarán
Ciarán Quinn is the Sinn Féin Representative to North America