UUP dinner threatens Estee Lauder profits

A boycott of international cosmetic giant Estee-Lauder could be considered by Irish American lobby groups, Fr Sean McManus said last night.

Over recent days top Irish American groups have been challenging the role of billionaire cosmetic king, Ronald Lauder, in hosting a $1,000-a-plate fund-raising dinner for the Ulster Unionist Party in New York.

Representatives from the Brehon Law Society, the Irish National Caucus and the Ancient Order of Hibernians were among the groups calling on Mr Lauder to reconsider his involvement in the event, scheduled for the Cipriani on 42nd Street, last night.

The top Republican Party supporter penned a letter of invitation to the event, at which UUP leader David Trimble was due to deliver a speech.

However, Mr Lauder’s letter sparked outrage among Irish-Americans when he claimed that the UUP “is supported by a large section of the Protestant and Catholic populations”.

The prominent American businessman is also under fire for failing to acknowledge the UUP’s organic links with the Orange Order.

Speaking to the Andersonstown News last night, Fr Sean McManus said he would “hope that Mr Lauder hasn’t understood what he was doing” when he associated himself with the event.

“I cannot know if he intentionally or unintentionally endorsed anti-Catholic bigotry. I do know, however, that he must now publicly denounce and renounce anti-Catholic bigotry. He must also call on David Trimble to renounce the Orange Order until it deletes all anti-Catholic bigotry from the by-laws and constitutions of the organisation.

“It is sad that a famous Jewish-American would put himself in a position where he could be seen to endorse anti-Catholic bigotry, because Jewish activists and members of Congress have been among our best allies in the fight for justice in Ireland.

“I hope that Mr Lauder hasn’t fully understood what he was doing, because he’s now created the question: should Irish-Americans use their purchasing power to subsidise anti-Catholic bigotry in Ireland by purchasing from Estee Lauder, or should they purchase their cosmetics from another company which doesn’t have that record?” asked Fr McManus.

Ancient Order of Hibernians President, Ned McGinley, lashed the claim that a large section of Catholics support the UUP. “After their historical attempts at suppression of the Catholics in the six counties for more than 80 years, that would be like chickens voting for Colonel Sanders,” quipped Mr McGinley.

The Andersonstown News made repeated attempts to contact Ronald Lauder’s spokesperson, Allen Roth, over recent days, but our calls were not returned.

Journalist:: Jarlath Kearney

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