(Letters from the Irish Independent. People DO care!!!)
I find it hard to believe that the Taoiseach's remarks in Washington on the issue of illegal Irish immigrants in the US were deliberately contrived to damage their prospects of achieving legal status.
So I can only conclude that his comments on a potential amnesty were a display of his own monumental ignorance of the aims of the immigration reform lobby.
They have never sought an amnesty for Irish illegal immigrants.
They are aware that by doing so, they would likely alienate their key supporters in the US Congress.
The only people who have talked up the prospects of an amnesty have been the opponents of relevant immigration reform.
These include Democratic Party candidate Senator Barack Obama and his backers in the large US labour unions.
They deliberately raised it as a tactic to scare away the moderate support which the McCain/Kennedy plan had in Congress.
By raising this non-issue once more, the Taoiseach has given grist to the mill of the opponents of immigration reform.
Simultaneously he has delivered a kick in the teeth to the Irish in America, on St Patrick's Day, of all days.
CLONTARF , DUBLIN 3
> I wish to make some observations about the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern's comments (Irish Independent, March 18) on illegal Irish in America.
I spent a summer in Boston some years back, and I did not know or hear of any unemployed, illegal Irish person.
You may say that they have to work because they will not receive any benefits from the US government.
However, it was my experience that the kind of people who made their way to the United States only seem to want to work hard.
And they are doing jobs most Americans would prefer not to do.
The United States is more than happy to turn a blind eye to the Irish who do the hard labour illegally and contribute to an economy that the Irish have helped build over generations.
Maybe instead rolling over for the Americans, the Taoiseach could bring up the tiny issue of illegal rendition flights landing on Irish soil at Shannon Airport.
BALDOYLE, DUBLIN 13