Irish Americans everywhere, however, will be thankful for the efforts of
Thompson and his team. And New Yorkers, especially those with a family
connection to the NYPD, the FDNY and other city agencies can be especially
Thompson, as comptroller, manages the New York City pension fund. At about
$105 billion, it invests vast sums in many of America’s top companies. More
than a decade ago, the city adopted the MacBride principles for the Northern
These tackle religious discrimination in the workforce. For example, they
aim to increase the representation of individuals from underrepresented
religious groups, including managerial, supervisory, administrative,
clerical and technical jobs. They also ban sectarian emblems in the
workplace, ensure recruitment is done fairly, and require that any lay-offs
do not in practice favor one religious group over another.
Some pro-British commentators claim there is no longer any need for the
MacBride Principles, that they have been overtaken by fair employment laws.
Would that it were so, but the employment facts and figures of the North
Thompson’s position is clear: When the NYC pension fund invests heavily in a
stock, he, on behalf of the city, is part-owner of that company, and has a
right to expect fair conduct from that firm. In the North, that means the
Thompson’s latest convert is the highly-successful Berkshire Hathaway, which
is headed by a giant of America’s stock markets, Warren Buffett.
Responding swiftly to a motion by New York City, Berkshire Hathaway said it would adopt the MacBride Principles for all of its subsidiaries, including the
Fruit of the Loom operation in Derry. Well done, Mr. Thompson, and Mr. Buffet too.