A Bill of Rights, equal status for the Irish language, and self-determination are some of the aims of the principles named after former Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister, Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness.
The Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) has drawn up an action plan aimed at securing support for the recently unveiled McGuinness Principles, a set of principles in support of conflict resolution and the Good Friday Agreement.
Launched on Tuesday, April 10, 2018, at Molloy College with many Irish American leaders present, the AOH has now called on Irish America to stand behind the Principles with the aim of promoting lasting peace in Northern Ireland.
In a statement, the AOH said that leading Irish-American organizations were united in unveiling the principles, named for the late Martin McGuinness “who dedicated his life so ardently for freedom and peace in Ireland.”
Stated the release: “April 10, 2018, was the Twentieth Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement when the people of Ireland overwhelmingly decided to pursue their nation’s identity strictly through peaceful means.
“Although the Good Friday Agreement has brought peace to Ireland for two decades, elements of the Agreement have never been achieved. To renege on an international treaty is not only dishonorable but dangerous to this peace process, which is admired around the world.
“Irish Americans determined to seek full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement have crafted The McGuinness Principles including Equality, Respect, Truth, and Self-determination. We are asking for your help to support this effort and add your voice to support this important undertaking.”
The release lists a series of requests aimed at Irish American organizations, politicians, labor unions, students, individuals and assorted groups.
This part of the release reads in part: “Please encourage your Irish organization to add its support to this project and produce a resolution to publicly endorse the Principles. Email your group’s name and location to email@example.com and your group’s name will be added to the list of groups who have endorsed the Principles. A template for such resolution is available for download at this link.
“Please contact your elected municipal, county or state legislators and ask that their body pass a Resolution in support of The McGuinness Principles. A template for such Resolutions is available for download here.
“Please email photo-quality copies of any resolution passed by legislators or your organization to firstname.lastname@example.org for inclusion on the website. Additionally, elected officials can issue letters or statements in support of The Principles. Those statements can be emailed to email@example.com.
“Please ask that your Local and District join other unions by resolving to support The McGuinness Principles. Resolution template is available for download at this link. Once passed, scan and email the resolution to firstname.lastname@example.org so it can be listed on the website.
“Students, individuals and groups are encouraged to demonstrate widespread U.S. support for The McGuinness Principles by visiting a nearby iconic location (i.e.: Golden Gate, St. Louis Arch, Statue of Liberty, etc.) with an ‘I support the McGuinness Principles’ sign, available for download. Send your photo to email@example.com for inclusion on the website.
“We also invite personal videos of people or groups stating support for The Principles. Please state your name, or that of your group and location and voice your support of the McGuinness Principles. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org for inclusion on the website.”
The release also stated that the emerging campaign behind the principles intends to focus on a hundred Irish and American leaders from above groups stating their support of the principles: If you know someone who you feel should be included please ask them to share video stating their name and their support of the McGuinness Principles. Send to email@example.com. It will be added to the website.”
The AOH points to the role of social media by stating: “Post support for the McGuinness Principles on social media: update your profile page, add a frame and use #mcguinnessprinciples when you post. You can also follow on Facebook, on the website, Twitter, and Instagram.
“We are seeking regional representatives for the project. Please send your contact information including an address to Sean Pender at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
The release continues to look ahead to the midterm elections in November.
It states: “The coalition of groups supporting the McGuinness Principles plans to use the 2018 U.S. Midterm Elections to garner political support for the Principles.
“We need your help to approach both Congressional and candidates and ask them to pledge, to endorse, support and advocate for The McGuinness Principles. A template can be found at these links for both Congressional and Senatorial endorsements. Send endorsements to email@example.com. Endorsers will be listed on the website.”
The release states that immediate action is required as “any future U.S.-UK treaties or trade agreements or implementation of Brexit must not negatively affect the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.
“The McGuinness Principles, and those who endorse them seek full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement by insisting that the United Kingdom meet its long-standing commitments to the people of the island of Ireland and support the appointment of a Special Envoy to the North of Ireland.”
* This article was originally published in the Irish Echo. You can read more stories from them here.