Category: Archive

Hibernian leader backs Korea citizenship bill

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Ray O’Hanlon

The National president of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Tom Gilligan, has expressed AOH support for a bill in Congress aimed at granting posthumous citizenship to Irish citizen soldiers killed in the Korean War.

The more than 20 dead Irish were all killed while fighting in U.S. uniform but were never made U.S. citizens despite paying the highest price.

A bill in the House of Representatives, H.R. 2623, proposes granting posthumous citizenship to the Irish and the dead of all nationalities while on active service in the U.S. armed forces.

The bill, sponsored by two Massachusetts congressmen, Martin Meehan and Jim McGovern, presently has 65 co-sponsors and was due for committee markup — a necessary prelude to a full floor vote — in the House last week.

However, the House went into Easter recess before H.R. 2623 could pass markup and will not now come to the floor until sometime in April.

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In a letter to Meehan, AOH president Gilligan said that AOH division and county presidents all over the U.S. had been advised to press their local House members to co-sponsor H.R. 2623, the Posthumous Citizenship Restoration Act of 2001.

Referring to the dead Irish soldiers, Gilligan said it was “important now more than ever that we do the right thing for those who serve their country and pay the ultimate price.

“Surely these men and women have earned the honor of U.S. citizenship,” Gilligan wrote.

The U.S. Senate is considering a companion bill to H.R. 2623. The bill was drawn up by Sen. Chuck Schumer and has been co-sponsored by GOP Sen. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

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