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Doherty welcomes all party motion in support of undocumented Irish

19 March, 2008

Following a call from Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty an all party motion in support of the undocumented Irish in America will be passed in the Seanad today. Senator Doherty has welcomed the motion and called on Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to clarify exactly what representations he has made while in America in support the approximately 40,000 undocumented Irish.

Speaking today Senator Doherty said, "After I made a call last week for an all party motion in support of the undocumented Irish in America to be agreed and passed by the Seanad the leader of the House, Fianna Fáil Senator Donie Cassidy, said there was no need for such a motion. However after much debate and persuasion he agreed and a motion will be passed this afternoon.

"I welcome this motion as it strengthens the hands of those fighting for the rights of these Irish people in America who find themselves in a very difficult situation. After today Irish politicians in the US can tell their American counterparts that both houses of the Oireachtas in this State support the undocumented Irish. This will be a huge advantage for those championing the rights of the undocumented Irish in America.

"However, having heard Bertie Ahern's comments in relation to this issue and having listened to Donie Cassidy as he dared argue against today's motion last week, I would question Fianna Fáil's commitment to this campaign.

"The Taoiseach should clarify what representations he has made in support of the undocumented while he has been in America this week. It should not simply be the case that Bertie mentions it to Goerge W Bush when he meets him in the Whitehouse on St. Patricks Day. There needs to be consistent lobbying of all Senators and Congress members in support of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform campaign and the plight of the undocumented must be continuously highlighted.

"The plight of one man from my own County of Donegal was highlighted recently when he was taken off a bus and jailed after a routine ID check. The reality is that this can happen to any one of the 40,000 at any particular time. This particular young man has been incarcerated for well over a week now and I would call on the relevant authorities including the Irish consulate to do all that they can to ensure his release.

"The Government Parties and Fianna Fáil in particular must show a commitment to this campaign." ENDS

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