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Irish emigrants ignored by government: McLellan

6 November, 2012

Speaking following the statements yesterday of former cultural ambassador, writer and actor, Gabriel Byrne, Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on arts, sport and tourism, Sandra McLellan TD said, that while supporting tourism is positive, successive governments have ignored those forced to travel abroad to find work.

She said: “Sinn Fein supports any measure to boost domestic tourism which it hopes will lead to increased employment in the sector. In so far as The Gathering may do this, it is a positive initiative.

“The party, nonetheless, shares Gabriel Byrne’s the concerns regarding Irish emigrants, especially those who have left Ireland due to economic need. Just last August, Sinn Féin’s finance spokesperson, Pearse Doherty TD, visited Australia, specifically to engage with the Irish community there.

“Successive Irish governments have ignored the plight of the Irish abroad. This is particularly the case with regard to undocumented Irish in the USA and Australia.

“Government policy, which favours austerity over growth, continues to have a negative impact on the Irish economy with the result that ever increasing numbers of Irish people are emigrating.

“Meanwhile, the government should fulfil its promise in the Programme for Government to enact legislation to allow for publication of the 1926 census, which would be a valuable resource for those seeking to explore their Irish heritage.”

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