Category: Archive

Echo Editorial: Lost friends

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Such is the case with Hibernian Digest editor Frank Feighery, philanthropist Lew Glucksman and now former Congressman Tom Manton. All were individuals who devoted time, professional and personal energy to the advance of Irish America and Ireland itself.
The death last weekend of Tom Manton removes from the stage one of the key legislative figures behind Irish-American efforts to secure a just peace in Northern Ireland.
Always a forceful advocate when it came to the issues that mattered to Irish Americans, and indeed all Americans who cared about Ireland, Manton, up until his retirement from the House of Representatives in 1998, was a cornerstone of the Ad Hoc Committee for Irish Affairs, a grouping that became increasingly important in the quest for a viable North settlement as the 1990s progressed.
Concerned and informed Washington legislators play a critical role in projecting Irish-American aspirations beyond the boundaries of the community itself, this because they have access to the broader media and public even as they work their connections within the legislative structure.
In the case of the latter, much of the work often remains unseen. Sometimes it becomes known, anecdotally or by chance.
One story about Manton is worth a quick reprise. It was recorded for posterity by Irish Times journalist Conor O’Clery following the 1995 St. Patrick’s Day lunch hosted by House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Gerry Adams and Bill Clinton were in the room and all the talk was about whether or not the two would shake hands. They did, but the moment almost went unnoticed but for the sharp-eyed Queens man.
As he witnessed the moment, Manton began to clap. Others followed. It was a round of applause heard well beyond that room.
Time now for us to join hands for Tom Manton, and all who have served Irish America, tirelessly and so well.

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