Irish Republican News · August 8, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Envoy gets message on parades
Envoy gets message on parades

Comments by US Special Envoy Mitchell Reiss describing Protestant marches through nationalist areas as being designed to provoke, intimidate and champion “superiority” have been welcomed.

In an email to Washington-based lobbyist, Fr Sean McManus of the Irish National Caucus, Mr Reiss further described such marches as “malicious” and “foolish”.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said he was not surprised by Mr Reiss’s comments.

“I presume the loyal orders will attempt to dismiss what Mitchell Reiss has said.

“But let them prove him wrong. Let them show a Christian and good-neighbourly approach.”

Mr Reiss wrote: “Dear Sean, Thanks for your note and the article. I misspoke yesterday when I said ‘I did not understand’ why orangemen want to march in nationalist areas. Obviously, the idea is to provoke, intimidate and champion their ‘superiority’.

“We’ve seen this behaviour down through the ages, with many groups and ethnicities. This is an old story that does not improve with the telling.

“What I meant to say, and what I thought was clearly implied, was how foolish and malicious such actions were. I am sure you agree. Best Mitchell.”

Fr McManus endorsed the US special envoy’s comments.

“Mitchell Reiss’s words speak for themselves,” Fr McManus said.

“Orange Order marches through nat-ionalist areas are provocative, intimidatory, foolish and malicious.

“It is refreshing that such an important American government official has recognised this to be the case.”

Unionists strongly condemned the remarks. The DUP’s Gregory Campbell said he had been “utterly disgusted” by Mr Reiss’s comments, which he said were “symptomatic of a man who doesn’t understand the parading issue at all,” he said.

Accusing Mr Reiss of having been duped by republican propoganda, he said: “Up to this point the Bush administration has adopted a more even-handed approach to the situation than the previous Clinton White House.

“Are they now taking up what can only be viewed as a completely partisan and pro-republican standpoint?”

A US government spokesman has since expressed regret that the email had entered the public domain and claimed it had been taken out of context.

Fr McManus has insisted that he had not broken any confidence between himself and Mr Reiss.

“There was nothing confidential about the correspondence between Dr Mitchell Reiss and me,” Fr McManus said.

“I do not have a confidential relationship with Dr Reiss. He has never told me anything in confidence.

“My job is to lobby the US government and Congress, in an open, above-board manner. I make public my correspondence to them, and their correspondence to me. I am not a secret negotiator.”

© 2004 Irish Republican News