Hill. December 2, 2006 The 1998 RUC
killing of an American-born Belfast man is set
to become a hot issue in the New Congress that
will convene in early January 2007.
John Hemsworth was born in Kearney, New Jersey,
on November 13, 1958, and after a few years the
family moved back to Northern Ireland. On January
1, 1998 John died in Belfast as a result of brutal
and unprovoked beating by the now defunct RUC.
Conscience of Irish-America
must arouse the conscience of Irish-Americans.
It is a disgrace that the killing of this Irish-American
has received such little attention, and it is
an outrage that his family has received no justice,"
said Fr. Sean Mc Manus, President of the Capitol
Hill-based Irish National Caucus.
Fr. Mc Manus revealed that he was stricken with
guilt when he received a letter in September from
John's 72-year-old father, Michael, in Belfast,
imploring help: "The British Attorney General
promised the family that we would have an inquest
into my son's death but eight years have passed
and nothing has happened. I wrote many, many letters
to American politicians but not one gave me the
courtesy of even an acknowledgement. It is hurtful
that some of these politicians and the President's
envoy can meet relatives of victims of the violence
but never had the time to meet me. You would think
that being the father of a natural born American
would be enough to give me preference. President
Clinton once said, ' America looks after its own,'
but sadly this is not the case for my son."
Fr. Mc Manus expressed regret that he had not
received the letter sooner but vowed to now take
up the issue. "Can any self-respecting Irish-American
read these haunting words of Michael Hemsworth
and not feel compelled to do justice for his son?
Irish-Americans have done many fine things for
Ireland, now they must do justice for one of their
own. And shame on us if we don't."
Fr. Mc Manus is launching a campaign in the US
Congress with special attention to the
New Jersey delegation and will also pursue
the issue with Dr. Mitchell Reiss, Special Envoy
for Northern Ireland.
Fr. Mc Manus explained the plan.
We want American pressure to make the British
Government keep its promise to hold an inquest;
want the Northern Ireland Ombudsman Office to
re-open the case (to which it previously gave
insufficient attention, according to the Hemsworths);
want all Irish -American groups to rally to
this cause, and we ask the international human
rights community to take up the issue.
Fr. Mc Manus concluded by saying, "I have
a lot of confidence in Special Envoy, Mitchell
Reiss. He has shown great interest in individual
cases, like Pat Finucane, and I'm sure once he
is fully aware of the John Hemsworth case he will
give it due attention and hopefully help to fulfill
President Clinton's words, 'America looks after