Category: Archive

Back on track

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

And Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern, who was traveling with his non-related namesake, said he would continue to press for a solution to end the plight of the undocumented Irish in the United States.
“We ask you to consider the case of our undocumented Irish immigrant community in the United States today. We hope you will be able to find a solution to their plight that would enable them to regularize their status and open to them a path to permanent residency,” Ahern said to his audieance in the House of Representatives chamber.
Speaking in Washington after Ahern’s speech, Minister Ahern said he would be following up on the strong remarks made by the taoiseach in his address.
“Essentially my task will be to find out how soon we can pick up the pieces from the efforts made at Congress to bring in comprehensive legislation which would remedy the situation. We are doing intense work on the ground here which will allow us to maximize all opportunities to find a successful solution to this issue,” Ahern, who met with Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform representatives in Washington, said.
“The fact the taoiseach highlighted the issue during his speech and the response from those present has assisted in placing the undocumented Irish firmly back on the Congress agenda,” said Ahern.
ILIR vice-chair Ciaran Staunton, executive director Kelly Fincham and board member Bart Murphy attended the speech as guests of Congressman Joe Crowley.
“We were delighted that the taoiseach used the opportunity to highlight the plight of the undocumented Irish in America,” said Fincham afterwards.
The ILIR group met with a number of Congress members including Speaker Nancy Pelosi and on Thursday morning with Irish officials. Fincham described the latter meeting as “frank and forthright.”
“We appreciated the fact that we all want to move on and focus on the issue of the undocumented. From here on in, there will be a closer working relationship with the Irish government including regular meetings as part of the new overall structure.
“We also look forward to briefing the new taoiseach at some point on our efforts. The issue is clearly not going away, and, with more people coming out, it has to be a priority,” she said.

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