Seán McManus (priest)

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This article is about the Irish-American lobbyist and Catholic priest. For other people of this name, see Sean McManus (disambiguation).

Father Seán Gabriel McManus is an American-based Irish nationalist activist and Roman Catholic priest.

Birth and family[edit]

He was born in Kinawley, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. He is a brother of Frank McManus, former Unity MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone from 1970 to 1974, and Pat McManus, a member of the IRA killed in an explosion in 1958.[1]

Trial in 1971[edit]

In 1971, McManus was a Redemptorist Father in Perth, Scotland. In August 1971 he was arrested in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, after a demonstration, because he helped a stone thrower to escape the police. In the following court proceedings he was sentenced to a fine of £20 and proclaimed:

"I do not, I never have and I never will recognise the colonial State of British-occupied Ireland ... I want to state publicly and unequivocally that I am in sympathy with the IRA - indeed sympathy is too weak a word ... I cannot join them in the fight for freedom of my country, but the very least I can do is speak up for them when they are being slandered and vilified by unscrupulously vicious propaganda. The oppressors of Irish freedom call the IRA terrorists and murderers, but I call them by their proper titles; I call them freedom fighters, I call them heroes; and I venerate their dead as martyrs for Ireland." [2]

Lobby work[edit]

McManus arrived in the United States on October 2, 1972 and founded the Irish National Caucus on February 6, 1974,[3] a Washington, D.C.-based Irish-American lobby group, which campaigned for the introduction of the MacBride Principles from late 1984. He has been director of that organisation, which has long had financial troubles.[citation needed] The Caucus was formally located at 413 East Capitol Street SE, Washington, D.C., but has since had to abandon office space and relocated to Fr. McManus' private residence in Southwest D.C.

The Principles led indirectly to further reforms and in 1998 a specific body was set up to handle complaints, the Fair Employment Commission for Northern Ireland.

Meeting addressed by proscribed group[edit]

McManus was photographed in 2008 attending a 50th-anniversary commemoration of the death of his brother, that was addressed by a masked member of a group proscribed in the USA.[4]

Further reading[edit]

  • Fr Sean McManus 2011, My American Struggle for Justice in Northern Ireland, Collins Press


  1. ^ "True Republicans are successors of McManus, Crossan and Duffy", Saoirse Irish Freedom, August 2008, p. 9
  2. ^ "Priest Refuses to Pay £20 Fine. Did Not Recognise Authority of Court", Irish Times, 7 September 1971, p. 9
  3. ^ Irish National Caucus
  4. ^ Saoirse article, August 2008