Irish Republican News · December 3, 2009
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
New York event to mark MacBride anniversary

An event will take place in New York City Hall next week will mark the silver anniversary of the MacBride Principles on Fair Employment.

Human rights campaigners supported the principles, which helped to reform employment laws in the North of Ireland and open up job opportunities for young Catholics.

Hosted by New York City Council, courtesy of Speaker Christine Quinn, the City Hall event will chart the journey of the MacBride Principles from their birth as a code of employment behavior for U.S. companies to their ratification as federal law by President Clinton in 1998.

Today, the principles continue to underpin the employment policies of all U.S. companies in the Six Counties, such as Coca-Cola, 3M and WalMart.

A representative of the AOH, Belfast Sinn Fein representative Gerry Kelly, Irish Consul General in New York, Ambassador Niall Burgess, New York comptroller-elect John Liu, and New York State comptroller Tom DiNapoli will be among speakers on a panel chaired by attorney Brian O’Dwyer.

The discussion will be led by Irish trade union leader Inez McCormack, the first woman president of Irish Congress of Trade Unions, who was one of the four original signatories of the principles in 1984.

Sinn Fein’s Gerry Kelly said the MacBride Principles showed “political power and financial muscle from America, filtered through tough contract compliance measures, can continue to play a hugely positive role in the North.”

“Any investor who chooses to ignore the North’s structural inequalities is, by default, choosing to reinforce them. Investment has to be about ending inequality, for people and for places in the North.”

A junior minister in the power sharing executive at Stormont, Kelly praised successive New York officials in campaigning for fair employment in the North.

“This event in New York reminds us that external support, exemplified by the work of the comptrollers offices and political goodwill in America, has previously assisted our campaigning for real change in employment discrimination.”

New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who is hosting the event, said: “This will be a moment for us to reflect on the North’s significant employment gains and to discuss how New York City and northern Ireland can work together to build on these gains.”

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© 2009 Irish Republican News