Friday, April 27, 2007

DONEGAL NEWS: Donegal plays major role

Donegal plays major role in 'US undocumented' rally

THE Meehan family were among scores of family, friends and relatives from Donegal who travelled to Dublin on Saturday to lobby for the legalisation of the Irish in America.
Adding an American flavour, Letterkenny taxi driver Liam Meehan took his New York style yellow cab to Dublin along with brothers Danny and Charles.
The Meehan's have two brothers living in New York. John is legal while their other brother Michael, who lives in Yonkers, is undocumented.
Michael is married to Falcarragh woman Christine and both have missed out on numerous family celebrations over the last four years because of their illegal status.

"We went to Dublin to show our support for Michael and his wife. They are both involved with the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform in New York and we wanted to do our bit here," explained Liam.

Michael, son of Peter and Teresa Meehan from Magheroarty is from a family of 14, ten boys and four girls, and has missed out on numerous christenings, family weddings and birthdays since he left over four years ago.

"We lost our aunt Mary Curran who would've been quite close to our family and Michael couldn't come home for the funeral. There are so many people in the same boat and scores of Donegal people came in buses from Falcarragh, Carndonagh and all over the county on Saturday to show their support for family and friends in the US," said Liam.

Over 1,500 people took part in the event which was promoted by the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform on Saturday. The meeting coincided with marches in Washington organised by ILIR in America. There are currently an estimated 50,000 undocumented Irish living in the US.

Local politicians also attended the meeting which was addressed Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern who told those present that the Irish government has been very central in the lobby over this for the last two years.

"The Taoiseach and I have raised it with President Bush on each of our meetings over the last three St. Patrick's days in the Oval Office," said Minister Ahern. He also said he had personally raised the issue with American congressmen and women during his 16 trips to America over the last two years.

The Irish Episcopal Commission for Emigrants called for the undocumented to be given the respect and dignity afforded to citizens.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny and the party's emigrant affairs spokesman Paul Connaughton also lent their support to the meeting. Cllr Brian O'Domhnaill has welcomed the additional 37,000 ($50,000) to the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform (ILIR), which is campaigning for the undocumented Irish in the United States.
The additional money will bring the total Government funding of ILIR to $130,000 since its establishment in December 2005.

Cllr O'Domnhaill said: "Some undocumented Irish people resident in the US are unable to travel home to visit their families, to renew a driving licence or benefit from the medical services under new measures introduced last year. This is extremely difficult and stressful for our emigrants.
"It is important that the Government continue to attach the highest priority to their efforts on behalf of the undocumented."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It was great to see the Meehan family going to Dublin in such force to show their solidarity with their brother Michael and his wife Christine.
I hope there is a bill this year that will create a path to citizenship for Michael and Christine. They are 2 upstanding people who deserve the opportunity.