Fine Gael Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Spokesman Michael Ring, has expressed his hope that Foreign Affairs Minister Micheál Martin can make progress on the undocumented Irish at meetings in the US this week. Deputy Ring said there have been positive signals from the Obama administration and it would be a lasting tribute to the late Ted Kennedy if a deal could be reached.
“Ireland returned to net emigration last month so the need for a deal has become more pressing and the issue of undocumented Irish people working in the US must be tackled.
“President Obama has said his administration will deal with this issue in the coming months and his establishment in the summer of an immigration working group to start work on reform was welcome. This group, led by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, comprises of a bipartisan group of Senate and House leaders and includes John McCain, whose work in this area along with Senator Ted Kennedy is well known. Indeed Senator Napolitano has indicated that some of the ideas in the Kennedy McCain proposals should be revisited. I believe it would be a tribute to the late Senator Kennedy if Ireland and the US can reach a deal.
“There have been many false dawns for the undocumented Irish but I hope the positive signals from the President and the challenge of increasing emigration can lead to progress soon. I welcome the Foreign Affairs Minister’s efforts and urge the Irish Government to continue to use every diplomatic initiative it can to keep this issue a priority.”