MacBride Principles: Ohio Senate Hearings 1992

This archive pertains to Senate hearings in Columbus, Ohio on the MacBride Principles.

Evidence for and against the MacBride Principles was given by:

Pat Doherty: Pat campaigned for George McGovern and against the Vietnam War, though he was too young to be drafted. He joined the Pension Policy Division of the New York City Comptroller’s Office in the 1980s, shortly before the MacBride Principles were devised. The New York City Comptroller at the time, Harrison Goldin, was attracted to the idea and it fell to the newly recruited Patrick Doherty to do the necessary research and produce a code of practice for U.S. corporations in Northern Ireland. The MacBride Principles were inspired by the Sullivan Principles, which concerned investment in South Africa, the fundamental difference being that Sullivan deliberately aimed to break South African law whilst MacBride only sought the actual full implementation of already existing law and procedures in Northern Ireland. The MacBride campaign was fought on two fronts. The first was to persuade pension funds and other institutional investors with funds in U.S. corporations with subsidiaries in Northern Ireland to put down resolutions at corporation AGMs urging them to implement the MacBride Principles as part of their employment policies.The second was to persuade state and city governments to support the MacBride Campaign and, depending upon the degree of support, to adopt legislation making it a condition for any company seeking state or city contracts to accept the principles and the add on of contract compliance.

Pat Doherty is Director of Corporate Governance at NYS Office of the State Comptroller (2018).

Kathleen M Whitford: Director, The MacBride Principles Coalition of Ohio. Kathleen specialises in Paediatrics and is affiliated with Cleveland Clinic.

Roger S. Weist: A tireless campaigner for Irish Human and Civil Rights, he has since been included in discussions with senior members of President Clinton’s staff, and the National Security Council. Roger led an active group of lobbyists working for legislative initiatives to support implementation of the MacBride Principles of Fair Employment for Northern Ireland. Roger was co-founder of Ohio MacBride Principles Coalition. Roger has held an active membership in the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Cleveland’s Great Hunger Memorial Committee, Cleveland Heritage Foundation, Gaelic Athletic Association, Greater Cleveland Feis Society, Greater Cleveland Emerald Civic Society, West Side Irish American Club, Irish American Club – East Side, Irish Northern Aid Committee and the Ohio Irish Congress.

Sean Neeson: A Northern Irish politician who served as leader of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland between 1998 and 2001 and was a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly for Antrim East, 1998-2011. He was among the regular Northern Irish witnesses and visited the United States on over twenty occasions. Employed both as a lobbyist against the MacBride Principles and as a business consultant, encouraging US firms to invest in Northern Ireland, his salary as a business consultant enabled the  Industrial Development Board in Northern Ireland to pay his salary.

The 1984 MacBride Principles are nine equal opportunity guidelines for US firms in Northern Ireland. Companies are called on to increase job opportunities for under represented religious groups, ban political and religious symbols from the workplace and ensure safe travel for employees.

The principles:

  1. Increasing the representation of individuals from under represented religious groups in the workforce, including managerial, supervisory, administrative, clerical and technical jobs.
  2. Security for minority employees at the workplace and while travelling to and from work.
  3. The banning of provocative religious or political emblems from the workplace.
  4. All job openings should be publicly advertised and special recruitment efforts made to attract applicants from under represented religious groups.
  5. Lay offs, recalls and termination procedures should not, in practice, favour particular religious groupings.
  6. The abolition of job reservations, apprenticeship restrictions and differential employment criteria, which discriminate on religion/ethnic grounds.
  7. The development of training programmes to prepare substantial numbers of minority employees for skilled jobs, including the expansion of existing programmes and the creation of programmes to train, upgrade and improve the skills of minority employees.
  8. The establishment of procedures to assess, identify and recruit minority employees with potential for advancement.
  9. Appointment of a senior management staff member to oversee the company’s efforts and the setting up of the timetable to carry out the principles.

In March 1996, the two houses of the United States Congress adopted the MacBride Principles on fair employment in Northern Ireland. It was agreed to attach the Principles to the US contribution of $19.6 million to the International Fund for Ireland. Among the senators who backed the inclusion of the MacBride Principles were Republicans Bob Dole, Jesse Helms, Al D’Amato, Hank Brown, Olympia Snowe and Democratic Senator Chris Dodd.