Donnybrook: International Fund for Ireland

Donnybrook: International Fund for Ireland
By John Myers, September 2021

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed H.R.4373, the Fiscal Year 2022 State, Foreign Operations Appropriations Act, which included an amendment sponsored by Rep. Brendan Boyle (Dem, Philly) reaffirming the importance for bilateral and international efforts to promote peace in the North of Ireland by way of the International Fund for Ireland (IFI). 

In the IFI’s own words: “The International Fund for Ireland was established as an independent organization by the British and Irish Governments in 1986 with financial contributions from the United States of America, the European Union, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The total resources committed to the Fund to date amount to £728m / €914m, supporting over 6,000 projects across the island of Ireland. The Fund aims to promote economic and social advance as well as encourage contact and dialogue between nationalists and unionists throughout Ireland.”  Congressman Boyle stated: “Over the years, the United States has been a leading advocate to help create a strong and peaceful society on the island of Ireland, and our continued involvement is important for maintaining that stability. I am encouraged that my fellow Members of Congress supported my amendment and continue their support for peace throughout the island. The Good Friday Agreement was just the start of the creation of reconciliation on the island of Ireland, not the end.”

The Last Right
Delightful and fun aptly describe, “The Last Right,” a film written and directed by Aoife Crehan.  The flick debuted at the Cork Film Festival, where it won the “Audience Award,” and received the “Directors Choice Feature” designation at the 2021 Irish Film Festival Boston.  A perfect film to locate on Prime, where it is waiting to stream to your family room on some rainy or snowy night. 

The movie starts off at JFK airport in NYC, but most of the film is set in Clonakilty, Cork and chronicles the caper of a trio of characters working their way North to a meet a scheduled burial on Rathlin Island in the Six Counties, with a corpse of a stranger strapped to the roof of their car.  This is all in a quest to fulfill the sixth Corporal Work of Mercy, “To Bury the Dead.”  

Colm Meaney plays the Garda character of Detective Crowley, in a role akin to Inspector Javert in Les Mis.  Brian Cox (Succession) has a small role as the parish priest waiting to officiate at the funeral.  The Last Right has a story line infused with humor throughout, balanced with some serious issues, as well as death and romance, all with just enough plot twists to keep the film from drifting to far towards oversentimentality. 

Eric Adams, NYC
At a recent gathering in Manhattan at the Fitzpatrick Hotel, Grand Central of the National Organizing Committee of Irish Americans for Biden, the next Mayor of NYC, Eric Adams, stopped in to share greetings from his “cousin” Gerry Adams.  While he started off with a light hearted quip, he followed up with a powerful statement, when, as the Irish Times reported Adams asserted, “I served with some of the greatest men and women in the police department, who were proud of their Irish heritage. I have come here tonight to say, this is your city.” 

While NYC is a much different city today than when, as Mary O’Dowd’s song laments for:  “When New York was Irish”; it was a most gracious and welcome statement from the incoming Mayor of NYC to recognize the contributions of the Irish to NYC, especially the contributions of our men and women in blue. 

John McCarthy 9White House), Brian O’Dwyer (Emerald Isle Immigration Center), Stella O’Leary (Pres. Irish American Dems PAC, Eric Adas (New NYC Mayor, John FitzPatrick (FitzPatrick Hotels).

Brits Attempt to Sweep History Under the Rug
The Tory Government, under the direction of British PM Boris Johnson, have proposed implementing a new “amnesty” law, completely undermining hopes for successful reconciliation between the two Loyalists and Nationalists communities in the Six Counties.  With a slight of hand, the London Government is poised to create a new law that would offer amnesty and eliminate any push to determine the underlying truth related to hundreds of controversial killings during the Troubles.  

The British establishment is working to make sure another Ballymurphy Investigation never happens, exposing active efforts of the British Government to cover up misdeeds by the British Army and hide evidence of collusion with Loyalists armed vigilantes.  While offering a superficial and misleading veneer to community wide healing, continued coverup of the facts by Westminster, precluding determination of the truth, will only inflame tensions between the two communities.  Only the truth will set these victims free. 

This is a direct effort to sabotage the Legacy Mechanisms created pursuant to the Stormont House Agreement. The complete lack of shame on the part of Westminster is remarkable.  Some have suggested that this blatant attempt to obfuscate the truth is a sop to the Unionist Community to offer a distraction from the Northern Ireland Protocol challenges. 

Amnesty can be an important tool towards peace and reconciliation, but it must be given AFTER the facts are determined and the truth be told, NOT before. In most cases, no investigations were undertaken in cases involving British Army and Government abuses. PM Boris’s government is hoping to run the clock out on the lives and memories of those involved, banking on time to evaporate the cry for Justice.  

Advocates of peace and justice are asked to contact your U.S. Congressman and ask them to sign on to the bi-partisan Boyle-Fitzpatrick letter of protest to the British Government, to end Tory attempts to undermine the search for the truth in the North of Ireland.

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