Louisburgh native Ciaran Staunton is looking to win a seat in the Seanad on the Industrial and Commerical Panel in the upcoming upper house elections. Staunton says that he will be a forceful, experienced, voice in the Seanad for the voiceless hundreds of thousands of economic emigrants, forced to leave Ireland involuntarily. Along with representing the rights of returning immigrants from countries worldwide and work tirelessly towards highlighting and addressing difficulties experienced by so many upon their return. He also added that he will be a strong advocate in the Seanad for securing an end to the nightmare of undocumented Irish in America and Australia, and for Irish emigrants worldwide.
Staunton has spent more than 30 years dedicated to supporting and campaigning on behalf of Irish emigrants and their families in the US. In 1982 he emigrated to the US from a farming background in to seek employment. Four years later in 1986 he successfully campaigned across the US for the formulation of the ground-breaking Donnelly Visa Program for Irish undocumented immigrants. Then in 1987 he co-founded the Irish Immigration Reform Movement (IIRM ), mission being to legalize Irish undocumented in the US, leading to the creation of the Morrison Visa Program.
In 2005 he co-founded the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform (ILIR ), the largest, most active, Irish American organization in the United States, to drive comprehensive immigration reform in the US through relentless, extensive, lobbying on behalf of Irish immigrants at the White House, Congress, and the US Senate, and also frequent briefing in the Oireachtas on the plight of the thousands of US Irish economic emigrants. The campaign included co-operation with Hillary Clinton and Senator Chuck Schumer among others, on immigration reform and peace in Ireland. In 2008 he organised an inaugural meeting between the Irish Government and families disaffected by emigration. A year later in 2009 he established the Gallagher Initiative, the first census undertaken of aging US Irish immigrants, in response to the heart-breaking death at home alone of 72-year-old Tony Gallagher. The Gallagher Project works with the aging Irish community, identifying coping skills and providing in-depth, invaluable coping strategies and supports for our ex-patriots in their advanced years.
Staunton has also launched a major awarness initatitive in relation to sepsis following the tragic death of his 12-year-old son Rory to sepsis, he established the Rory Staunton Foundation to raise awareness about this devastating and needless killer.