Sinn Féin - On Your Side



Commenting after those targeted in the ARA operation in Manchester last week held a press conference, Sinn Féin MP Conor Murphy today called on the two governments to remove the securocrats within their systems who are clearly abusing their positions to try and undermine the peace process.

Mr Murphy said:

"It is very clear that the ARA raids in Manchester last week were politically motivated and based entirely on innuendo, spin and malicious briefing. It had nothing at all to do with recovering the proceeds of crime.

"The media were conned with reports of £30m property portfolios, IRA links and thousands of documents seized.

"There is a clear responsibility on the two governments to sack those securocrats responsible for using their positions in organisations like the ARA to undermine the peace process. Such individuals not only undermine the political process but also undermine public confidence in the impartiality and ability of groups like the ARA to properly carry out the important job of seizing criminal assets." ENDS


Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has raised with the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern TD the issue of Peace 3 funding for Peace and Reconciliation projects in the North and border counties.

Mr. Adams conversation with the Taoiseach follows his meetings last week with the EU Commission on Regional Development Danuta Hübner and the British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Peace 1 and Peace 2 each delivered hundreds of millions of Euros to a wide range of groups involved in delivering peace and reconciliation work. The EU Commissioner informed Mr Adams that an additional several hundred million Euro was available for a Peace 3 fund but that both the British and Irish Governments had to ask for it. This needs to be done in the next few weeks otherwise the money is likely to be incorporated into the wider EU budget.

Mr. Adams said:

"I raised the Peace 3 fund with Mr. Blair and the British Secretary of State Peter Hain on Thursday. I was assured by both that they would move quickly to ensure that the British request was in on time and that this money was acquired from the EU. I subsequently spoke to the Taoiseach and raised this issue with him. Mr. Ahern also undertook to expedite the Irish government's response to this issue.

If both governments move quickly I am confident that the EU Commission Ms Hübner will add her considerable support to the release of funds.

The Peace 3 projects will run from 2007 to 2013. They will ensure the continuation of much of the valuable work currently undertaken. However, there is a urgent need for all of the groups involved, along with political parties to step up the lobby to secure the additional funding that a seven year programme will require."ENDS


Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams today expressed his shock at the untimely death of prominent Newry republican Brian Campbell at his home yesterday. Speaking this afternoon Mr Adams said:

"Brian Campbell was a man of enormous talent and commitment to the republican struggle. While in prison he along with Lawerence McKeown edited the acclaimed book ŒNor Meekly Serve My Time‚ in which those blanketmen and former hunger strikers told the story of the prison struggle of the late 1970s and early 1980s in their own words.

"On his release from prison Brian went on to become editor of An Phoblacht and a played a key role in the development of Sinn Féin in Newry & Armagh and the election of Conor Murphy as MP last year.

"Brian also continued to write and was instrumental in making of the award winning film H3 which brought the story of the Hunger Strikes to a worldwide audience.

"Republicans throughout Ireland were deeply shocked yesterday when we heard the news of Brian's sudden death. But it is his wife and young family who will feel this lost most. On behalf of the Sinn Féin leadership I would wish to extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to Brian's wife and family at this most difficult time." ENDS


Sinn Féin MLA Mitchel McLaughlin has said that all parties who want a united Ireland must work together to gather the momentum to make it happen.

Speaking after attending the SDLP conference North South Makes Sense Mr McLaughlin said,

"I am pleased that political parties, community activists and business people across this island are seeing the benefits of the creation of all Ireland dimensions whether it is on the economy, energy provision or political structures.

"There are many avenues in which working on an all Ireland basis makes sense and even the most ardent Unionist has to agree that this is so

"This conference today has highlighted some of the areas where we can all find common ground for the benefit of all the people on this island.

"The participation of senior Irish officials and senior business people is welcome indeed but must however be matched by the political will of the Dublin Governments to create the momentum that will accelerate change towards reunification.

"If the momentum is to be increased then all interested parties must come together with a united voice in moving this agenda forward." ENDS


Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP speaking on a visit to Mayo today called on the Irish government to intervene in the Corrib Gas dispute and tell Shell to put their pipeline and refinery off-shore. Mr. Adams, accompanied by party colleagues Councillors Gerry Murray and Noel Campbell, visited the proposed site for the refinery at Ballinaboy and met with Rossport campaigners including Micheal Ó Seighin, Willie Corduff, Vincent McGrath, Brendan Philbin, Philip McGrath and their families.

Mr. Adams said:

"The arrest and detention of the Rossport 5 has caused huge disquiet throughout Ireland. People are concerned that ordinary people could be treated in this way, they are concerned that a multi-national consortium could force a dangerous pipeline through a small community regardless of concerns about health and safety and they are concerned that the Irish government would give away natural resources worth billions of EUROs at a time when our public services are in crisis.

"Today I met with campaigners at Ballinaboy and in Rossport. I spoke to the families involved in the campaign and offered Sinn Féin's ongoing support. Sinn Féin has raised this matter with the Irish government. We have also spoken with the outgoing Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Bondevik, other Norwegian political parties and with Shell. We have asked them to listen to the concerns of people in Ireland.

"I want to welcome the release of Micheal O Seighin, Willie Corduff, Vincent McGrath, Brendan Philbin and Philip McGrath but it is important to recognise that this issue will not be resolved by mediation with Shell. The way that this will be resolved is for the Irish government to tell the Corrib Gas consortium to move their pipeline and refinery offshore. They also need to renegotiate the scandalous deal signed by former Minister Ray Burke which saw the government give away the rights to Corrib and future gas and oil fields to the oil companies.

"It is estimated that Corrib gas alone is worth between €12 Billion and €21 Billion, which is over twice the size of the government‚s entire health budget. And there are more gas fields off Cork, Shannon, Galway and Donegal, but no one knows yet how large they are or how much they are worth. What we do know is that they are resources that could be put to good use in Ireland." ENDS


Sinn Féin Agriculture Spokesperson, Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew has said that the response of NIO Agriculture Minster Jeff Rooker to the delays in the payments of the Single Farm Payment beyond the December 1st window is unacceptable.

Ms Gildernew said:

"Delaying the Single Farm Payment until early 2006 will be a disaster. For many farmers already facing hardship it will push them over the edge.

"It is frustrating that the delay is nothing to do with farming here in the North but is due to the failure of the British organisation responsible for allocating the funding to the local department, the Rural Payments Agency. The contrast with the south, where payments are on target to be made this month could not be starker. It is further evidence that being tied to UK farming policy is bad for our farmers.

"But we do not need to be face these threats caused by British incompetence. Jeff Rooker could go direct to the EU and negotiate approval for bringing forward the payment date for the Single Farm Payment. There are provisions under the EU regulations to make payments from October 16th on the grounds of farmers facing severe financial hardship.

"Given the realities facing many farmers it is vital that Jeff Rooker acts now to try and alleviate crisis. The farming community is at rock bottom and more needs to be done to bring in some confidence and stability

"Over 80,000 jobs in the north depend, directly and indirectly, on the farming industry so the impact of farmers going under will have a huge economic impact beyond the industry itself.." ENDS


Sinn Féin Agriculture Spokesperson, Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michele Gildernew has said that the Lancaster University report into the impact of Foot and Mouth disease highlights the huge emotional and personal trauma of the outbreak.

Ms Gildernew said:

"I welcome this very wide ranging and in-depth report from Lancaster University. Particularly as it looks at the substantial human cost arising from the devastation of the outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease.

"Whilst much has been written about the many measures required to reduce the risk of another outbreak, and how any future outbreak should be dealt with, very little has been done to identify the needs of those caught up in the wake of such an outbreak.

"The sense of isolation and the stigma associated with having Foot and Mouth disease on a farm, alongside the trauma of losing animals, and the burning of them on or close to your farm is very difficult to deal with. This is all compounded by the loss of control of the situation, and what was for many a bureaucratic nightmare.

"This nightmare lasted for months while one government department or agency shifted responsibility from one place to another, while in some cases promises that were made to farmers by government officials were broken.

"Lancaster University recommends that support and regeneration plans and assistance be put in place as part of a Foot and Mouth management plan.

"In the parts of the North that were affected by the Foot and Mouth outbreak, many different approaches were taken to deal with the aftermath. Some areas received assistance in the form of regeneration plans, while others had rural support officers appointed. This only happened because of pressure from the local community and community sector. The results from that assistance have shown that these measures should be separate from government and part of a long-term Foot and Mouth strategy." ENDS


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Human Rights Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has welcomed Dermot Ahern's agreement that objective need is the only criterion that should be used to govern the allocation of funding to communities in the Six Counties. After questioning from Deputy Ó Snodaigh in the Dáil last night Minister Ahern agreed that "objective criteria should be used." However Deputy Ó Snodaigh was highly critical of the Minister's assertion that discrimination against Nationalists had been "all but eliminated as a result of the legislation now in place".

Speaking today Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "I welcome the fact that the Minister has agreed with me that objective need should be the only criterion governing the allocation of funding to communities and informing equality building measures. This was stipulated in the Good Friday Agreement.

"But by asserting that discrimination against Nationalists has been 'all but eliminated as a result of the legislation now in place' the Minister is showing a complete lack of understanding of the situation. He is clearly blind to inequality and blind to discrimination. It is naïve to suggest that the existence of anti-discrimination legislation translates into the disappearance of discrimination.

"He is unfortunately giving credit to the false excuse given by Loyalists for their most recent violent sectarian campaign, where they claim that they are the ones being discriminated against.

"The Minster should look at the most recent statistics published by the British authorities. They give a full list, area by area with an indicator by indicator on every one of them. Those communities regarded as Catholic and nationalist are less well off than their counterparts in loyalist or Protestant areas. I have offered to give the Minister a copy of these statistics. I would encourage him to read them carefully." ENDS


Over 250 Sinn Fein representatives, comprising the leadership across the Six Counties will meet in the Tí Chulainn Centre in Mullaghbawn, South Armagh tomorrow, Saturday 8th October, for a day long conference to develop the party's response to the events of recent weeks and the initiative of July 28th.

The internal Sinn Fein conference entitled 'Towards the Republic' will focus on planning & strategy.

Sinn Fein General Secretary, Mitchel McLaughlin MLA, will open the conference and Bairbre de Brún MEP will give the keynote speech.

Mitchel McLaughlin will be available to speak to the media at 11am.


Sinn Féin Assembly member for Upper Bann John O'Dowd has said that rate exemptions for non-profit making organisations should be applied across the board to the full spectrum of community, voluntary and amateur sporting organisations.

Mr O'Dowd raised the issue yesterday in talks with the British Prime Minister Tony Blair in London.

Mr O'Dowd said:

"Any moves to introduce Rate exemptions for non-profit making organisations should be applied across the board to the full spectrum of community, voluntary and amateur sporting organisations.

"It is essential that this rate exemption would be fully equality proofed.

"I raised this matter with the British Prime Minister Tony Blair today in our talks at Downing Street and I am keen to see progress made on these matters in the time ahead." ENDS


The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Agriculture, Martin Ferris TD, has welcomed yesterday's announcement in the European Parliament by Industry Commissioner Günter Verheugenall that the EU will become more proactive in the promotion of alternative fuels. Part of this will include an update of the Directive on biofuels.

Deputy Ferris said: „Apart from the environmental benefits of alternative fuels, and the need to replace carbon based fossil sources, alternative fuel production could bring considerable economic benefits. I noted that there was much interest in this area at the Ploughing Championships last week. I was particularly interested to hear the views of people involved in the sugar beet sector who are puzzled as to why the existing facility at Carlow is not being used to produce ethanol.

„I have questioned the Minister on this and requested that sugar beet be included in the grant scheme to promote the growing of energy crops. If necessary the Irish Government should argue for this at EU level as it would not only provide continued outlets and employment for those previously involved in the production of beet for sugar, but would make this country a serious player in the biofuels sector." ENDS


Sinn Féin health spokesperson, John O'Dowd MLA, has said that the publication of a survey by the Royal College of Nursing should act as a catalyst for the Department of Health to address long-standing concerns, which the nursing profession has expressed. The RCN survey suggests that one in four nurses in the Six Counties intend to leave their employer within the next two years.

Mr O'Dowd said:

"Nursing is a physically and emotionally demanding job. Indeed, a departmental survey some time ago confirmed that nurses in the Six Counties deal with more patients than their counterparts in England, Scotland and Wales. At a meeting which I held with representatives of the Royal College of Nursing within the past week, it was clear that nurses here have very real and long-standing concerns which the Department of Health must address as a matter of urgency.

"The RCN has made it clear to the Department of Health that if the issue of recruitment and retention of nursing staff is not sorted out, then there is a real danger that the modernisation and improvement of services for patients will be hampered.

"Among those issues which Sinn Féin believes the Department needs to address are the lack of child-care support for pre-registration nursing students, the failure to prioritise improvements in nurses' pay and conditions under Agenda for Change, and the government's intention to raise the retirement age for nurses to 65 while at the same time attempting to remove nurses' final salary pension scheme.

"Sinn Féin would urge the Department and the NIO health minister, Shaun Woodward, to work with the Royal College of Nursing in order to fully address nurses' concerns. Key to solving the recruitment and retention problem will be to provide nurses with a pay, conditions and career package, which is both competitive and attractive. Strenuous efforts must be made to ensure that there are more flexible ways for students to enter into nursing and to also ensure that the health service is an attractive and fulfilling place for nurses to work.." ENDS


Sinn Féin West Tyrone MLA Barry McElduff has said that the British direct rule Minster responsible for planning, Jeff Rooker, cannot brush the rural planning crisis under the carpet.

Mr McElduff said:

"Jeff Rooker cannot brush the crisis in rural planning under the carpet.

"It is totally wrong to try and tackle the planning backlog by stripping away democratic accountability and diminishing consultation. The best response would be to get more planning officers on the ground. Instead the planning service is dealing with the backlog it is responsible for by punishing applicants at the point of entry.

"This means that rural dwellers and particularly young couples are finding it increasingly difficult to build new homes in the country. People are literally being forced into towns to the detriment of the rural way of life.

"The decision to end site meetings is just another example of the inflexible and bureaucratic approach to planning. Office based meetings are no substitute to getting planning officer on the ground. The site meeting is a valuable tool in ensuring that people who want to build homes in the country do so in a manner that integrates with the surrounding environment.

"Unless there is a greater sense of realism and greater flexibility the result will be that the long term viability of rural communities will be threatened." ENDS


Sinn Féin spokesperson on older people and women, Newry Armagh MLA Pat O'Rawe has said that the creation of an independent Commissioner for Older People should be the first step in developing a wider social inclusion agenda to tackle many of the problems facing older people.

Ms O'Rawe said:

"Older people in our society are socially excluded on many levels and face a huge number of barriers. Without financial commitments to match well intentioned paper polices there is little or no prospect of improving the life experience of older people.

"Political will is needed to actively pursue the political and legislative changes necessary to establish a decent standard of living, full access to services and the right of older people to fully participate in the life of their community. The first step in delivering a strategy for social inclusion would be the creation of a Commissioner for Older People that can ensure that we get a joined-up approach.

"The incomes of many older people are falling behind that of the community as a whole. Older people are living on inadequate pensions and struggling with spiralling costs of living. After a lifetime of work and contribution through taxes, rates and national insurance we must ask if the standard of living provided for older people meets their needs and reflects these contributions. Society must question how governments, who have benefited from these contributions, have repaid them.

"Action and most importantly real financial commitments across a broad range of policy areas is required. There are a number of specific policy initiatives that Sinn Féin believe will combat levels of poverty and social exclusion, including:

· A Commissioner for Older People

· A Fundamental review of the standard of living of older people, including pension provision, cost of living, fuel poverty and disposable income

· Year on year targets to eliminate unnecessary deaths from cold

· Introduction of free personal care and an adequate level of nursing care in residential accommodation

· Fair access to health care for older people based on clinical need

· Free telephone line rental, free TV licences and examination of potential of free Internet access

· Free public transport across the island of Ireland

"It is essential that older people have access to transport and the planning of all aspects of transportation should ensure that barriers to accessing services, employment, and volunteering, educational, recreational and social opportunities are removed. We need to evaluate public transport and supported transport provided especially within rural communities.

"Sinn Féin believes that all public transport should be accessible and that older people throughout Ireland should access to free public transport." ENDS

Note to Editors

At the last census there were 270,592 people of pensionable age living in the North, with this figure estimated to increase to 314,000 by the year 2021 (Mid-year estimates and population projections 2003, NISRA)


Sinn Féin's Gerry Adams and Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness led a party delegation to meet with the British Prime Minister Tony Blair and British Secretary of State Peter Hain.

Speaking afterwards Mr Adams described the meeting as 'good and positive'.

The Sinn Féin President said:

"Today's meeting was a crucially important one, which provided an opportunity to review recent developments and to discuss how progress can be made.

"The main focus of our discussion was on the political institutions and the need for them to be re-established speedily.

"Key to making progress is the British Government honouring its commitments on policing, demilitarisation, OTR's and the right of citizens to live free from sectarian harassment. We also presented the British Prime Minister with an equality document recently produced by the party. Our discussions also focussed on the widespread sectarian attacks against Catholics by unionist paramilitaries and killings by those organisations. We pointed to the fact that the DUP has no difficulty sitting on commissions with members of those unionist paramilitary organisations.

The Sinn Féin President also raised the issue of PEACE III funding for the north and border counties with Mr Blair and Mr Hain.

Mr Adams said:

"We were assured by the British Prime Minister that it will move to ensure that the application for PEACE III funding is processed quickly. This is good news for the many peace and reconciliation projects which are dependant on EU funding. Yesterday in Brussels, there was obvious concern that the hundreds of millions of euro potentially available for these projects might be lost if the British Government did not apply for it. We will be returning to this matter with the British Government in the time ahead, and both governments should be pressing this issue with the EU in the time ahead." ENDS


On his return from a meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams will travel to Mayo tomorrow (Friday 7th) to meet with campaigners against plans by Shell and Statoil to put a dangerous and experimental pipeline and recovery station on shore in the area.

Mr. Adams will meet with campaigners at the proposed site for the refinery at Ballinaboy at 12 noon. He will be available to talk to the media afterwards. He will then travel onto Rossport. He will accompanied by Sinn Féin Councillors Gerry Murray and Noel Campbell.


Sinn Féin Economy Spokesperson, Mitchel McLaughlin MLA has said that the 100 billion all-Ireland Infrastructural investment programme over the next ten years, highlighted by IBEC, should lay the foundations for constitutional reunification.

The 100 billion will come directly from the Irish Government and the Strategic Investment Board. The time bound investment will focus on the development of an all-Ireland integrated transport network and energy and communication systems and focused through a spatial development plan for the whole of the island.

Sinn Fein's Mitchel McLaughlin broadly welcomed the initiative,

"Sinn Fein has been spearheading the idea that constitutional reunification needs to be underpinned by a period of planned reintegration. So of course we would naturally welcome the prospect of 100 billion being invested in all-Ireland infrastructure. It is needed to address the legacy of national dislocation resulting from partition.

"However, we must ensure that infrastructural reintegration is delivered in such a way as to create spatial equality throughout the island, leaving no region underdeveloped.

"Planning for Irish unity is already underway. Minister Seamus Brennan has stated that united Ireland would make a 'wonderful economic, social and cultural unit'. He's right but people don't want it to be a 32 County Rip-off Republic.

"The arbitrary suspension of the institutions and consequent 'Care and Maintenance' enforced on all-Ireland activity was never going to work. It was only the people of Ireland who would suffer, and especially those communities who live next to the border.

"Sinn Fein has been at the forefront of the all-Ireland agenda. We can see quite clearly how other political parties have reacted to Sinn Fein's electoral success, our all-Ireland agenda and our Green Paper initiative. The net result has been either to expose the inherent partitionism of some parties and to impart and enhance the priority of all-Ireland integration within others. Our strategy is working and Sinn Fein will continue to lead the way and act as the fulcrum for building a community for reunification and a united Ireland of equals." ENDS


Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has today demanded immediate action from Six County Health Minister Shaun Woodward on the implementation of a smoking ban in the workplace. Ms de Brún said that the British Government were 'dragging their feet' on the issue and that 'employee health will continue to suffer until the matter is dealt with decisively and definitively.'

Ms de Brún made her comments more than three months after Shaun Woodward said he needed more time to consult on the economic arguments, implementation issues and public opinion.

Speaking from Brussels the former Assembly Health Minister said:

"The issue of a smoke ban in the work place must be dealt with decisively and definitively. In early 2005, the Department of Health carried out a public consultation on whether smoking should be allowed in workplaces, allowed in bars which do not serve food or a total ban. Of the 71,000 people who responded, an overwhelming 91% of people were in support of the total ban.

"On June 27th, Mr Woodward said he needed more time to make his decision. While the British Government drag their feet, employee health will continue to suffer the negative and life threatening effects of second hand smoke. What more does Minister Woodward need? An overwhelming number of respondents to the consultation, health professionals and many local politicians are in complete agreement. Coupled with this, the smoking ban in the south of the country has been a complete success.

"I am making a direct appeal to Mr Woodward to move on this issue immediately. People are beginning to wonder whether the British Government have the political will to deliver a comprehensive ban on smoking throughout all workplaces in the north." ENDS


Sinn Fein MLA Michael Ferguson has welcomed the news that the new Children's Minister Jeff Rooker has secured additional investment for the delivery of 'out of school' projects or Early Years Project funding. The Sector was very clearly at risk of collapsing given that the European Funding that it has now been dependent upon was running out.

Commenting upon Lord Rooker 's Statement Education Spokesperson said,

"The intervention of the New Minister is most welcome and gives support to the need for a Minister that can look at the need for composite approach to the delivery of children's needs.

"The financial intervention does how ever need to be mainstreamed as such funding is in England and Wales.

"If we are serious about supporting the economy, addressing the skills deficit and meeting the co-occurring issues that affect a child's life then Early Year's Projects need to be mainstream provision and complemented by Extended School Projects that involve Parenting Centers, Playground Mentoring Schemes and Health and Social Service intervention programs including family support and speech therapy.

"It is also essential that the Minister support our campaign which is demanding a real budget to support education and learning because education from early years through to life long learning must be integrated and seamless and the current cuts to mainstream school services are compounding the levels of educational underachievement and consequently impacting adversely on the economy." ENDS


Speaking during the debate on the all-party Motion relating to the US Immigration Bill being proposed to regularise the status of undocumented workers and immigrants living in the US, Sinn Féin spokesperson on International Affairs, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, said he supported the US Bill on immigration reform. He said, "This measure, if passed, could have positive and life-changing consequences" for thousands of undocumented Irish workers living in the United States. He went on to call on the government to introduce a similar system for regularising undocumented migrants here, saying, "Members of the Oireachtas should not promote the introduction of an immigration policy in another jurisdiction that they would not be prepared to introduce here themselves."

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "On behalf of Sinn Fein I would like to lend my support to the Kennedy/McCain Bill on immigration reform. This measure, if passed, could have positive and life-changing consequences for undocumented workers living in the United States, hundreds if not thousands of whom are Irish. Three weeks ago my colleague Deputy Sean Crowe expressed our support for the reform Bill directly to the two Senators, along with the rest of the all-party delegation, in Capitol Hill, Washington.

"The situation of the undocumented Irish living in the US has been a continuous major concern for Sinn Féin. Our concern centres around the vulnerability of this isolated group of Irish citizens. In particular we lament the effective exile of this group from Ireland and from their families here. This exile results from the very real fear that if they return here for a visit, a holiday, a wedding or a funeral they will be unable to re-enter the United States where they've built a life for themselves -- albeit an uncertain life. It is also likely that this intolerable situation contributes to substance misuse, suicide and depression in this group.

"If the Kennedy/McCain Bill is passed it will resolve much of this situation. And it is right and proper that we promote such a move together.

"However, I would also like to use this rare opportunity of Oireachtas enlightened consensus and goodwill around a positive immigration reform to push for a similar measure here. Members of the Oireachtas should not promote the introduction of an immigration policy in another jurisdiction that they would not be prepared to introduce here themselves.

"Just as we have expressed empathy en masse with the undocumented Irish in the US let us now do the same in relation to undocumented workers here in Ireland. Sinn Fein calls on this government to introduce a system for regularising undocumented migrants here. This system should, in line with recommendations of the Immigrant Council of Ireland, prioritise the human rights of such migrants and recognise that the vast majority are involuntary migrants desperately seeking work -- as so many Irish have done abroad before them.

"This type of immigration policy reform is vitally necessary to bring an end to the exploitation of this group by some unscrupulous employers in this state and to meet the legitimate needs and right of migrants to maintain real contact with their respective families at home. Failure to introduce such reforms here would be nothing short of hypocrisy.

"Again I welcome the opportunity to support the Kennedy/McCain Bill which has real potential to resolve the current insupportable situation of many Irish in the USA." ENDS

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