Irish Republican News · March 10, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Kerry takes `line' on Cory from Kennedy
Kerry takes `line' on Cory from Kennedy

By Ray O'Hanlon (for the Irish News)

If John Kerry does succeed in becoming the 44th President of the United States, there will be a Kennedy standing close by him on the inauguration stand next January.

In just about every appearance the Massachusetts senator has made on recent primary victory nights, there, not a few feet away, has been the lately slimmed-down figure of the other senator from the state, Ted Kennedy.

Kennedy's role in the Kerry campaign is not official, but it has been highly significant.

Experienced staff members from Kennedy's office have taken up prominent roles in the Kerry camp in recent months and there is little doubt that other members of the Kennedy family have been put on alert for a summer of slugging George Bush and the Republican Party on behalf of John Kerry and the Democrats.

Kerry, the junior senator from Massachusetts, has long taken heed of the views of the senior senator on a variety of issues, not least on Ireland.

A case in point was the addition of Kerry's signature last week to a letter, addressed to Tony Blair, calling for publication of the four Cory reports currently under Downing Street wraps.

The letter for Blair was initially signed by Senator Charles Schumer of New York, Chris Dodd of Connecticut, another close Kennedy ally, Patrick Leahy from Vermont and Kennedy himself.

The letter took on a sharper edge when the name of Kerry became signature number five just as he was poised to romp away with the Super Tuesday primaries.

The letter focuses on the murders of Pat Finucane, Rosemary Nelson, Robert Hamill and Billy Wright and expresses concern over the British government's handling of the Cory reports into these killings.

There is ``widespread concern'' about ``credible allegations'' of security force collusion in the murders of Finucane, Hamill, Nelson and Wright, the senators state in their letter.

The letter points to the Weston Park negotiations of July 2001, talks that resulted in the British government agreeing to appoint Judge Cory to examine the four cases, as well as other alleged collusion incidents in the Republic.

``It was subsequently further agreed that Judge Cory's reports would be published,'' the letter from the senators states.

``Despite the fact that Judge Cory submitted his report nearly six months ago, the Cory report has not yet been published, no target date for publication has been given and there has been no clear confirmation that public inquiries will be held into all cases where Judge Cory has recommended them.

``Further, your government has refused to confirm that Judge Cory has recommended public inquiries into these cases, even though Judge Cory himself has gone on record to do so,'' the senators write.

They add that it is ``difficult to accept'' fear of prejudice to prosecutions as a reason for delay.

``We share the continuing concern of families that justice has already been delayed for far too long in these cases,'' the letter concludes.

A senate source characterized the letter to Blair as being ``strongly worded.''

Not exactly a declaration of war, but a shot across Downing Street's bows nevertheless.

It being an election year, strong words are to be expected.

And much in this vein will be expected of Kerry from those Irish Americans who remember the heady days of Bill Clinton, and can't get quite as excited over the more low-key Bush first term.

For starters, Kerry, now in full stride towards his party's nomination, will be expected to show up for a planned Irish American presidential forum in New York sometime before the summer.

His campaign has already released two statements on Ireland, the second being especially comprehensive and detailed in its treatment of the current impasse in the peace process.

That statement is also critical of the Bush style of handling the peace process.

John Kerry, it stated, believes that President Bush has failed to recognise the importance of building on the work of President Clinton in facilitating the peace process. There was not a US ambassador in Ireland in more than a year.

``President Bush's lack of urgency in naming a new ambassador to Ireland and the absence of presidential involvement in efforts to further the peace process are clear evidence that Ireland is not a high priority for the Bush administration.''

Kerry's statement also took a swipe at the Rev Ian Paisley's party.

The DUP, it said, ``cannot be permitted to disenfranchise half the population of Northern Ireland by refusing to form a government with Sinn Féin''.

That little jibe resulted in Kerry being branded a ``friend of Irish terrorism'' and ``ignorant'' of the issues by one DUP assembly member.

If the accusation of ignorance is being aimed at John Kerry, it might as well be aimed at Ted Kennedy.

Kerry's actions on Ireland thus far have ``thoughts of Ted'' all over them.

Kennedy once harboured his own presidential ambitions but has settled instead for a Senate career that has been one of the more productive in his party's history.

Kennedy is perfectly suited at this juncture to play the elder statesman behind some younger man's throne.

And in John Kerry, he has clearly found the man he wants to see in the Oval office next year.

John Forbes Kerry even has the initials to inspire a big brotherly effort from the grizzled standard bearer of President Kennedy's `new generation'.

This could be Teddy's busiest political year in a long while.

And if it doesn't work out, well, there's always Hillary waiting in the wings.

© 2004 Irish Republican News