Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ireland and U.S launch working-holiday visa

The Irish Government has announced a new deal with the U.S. whereby up to 20,000 students will be able to come to the U.S for a 12-month working holiday. The visas will not be available to undocumented Irish already in the U.S. Read the official press release here

Micheal Martin signs new visa deal

The Irish Govt has signed a new visa deal which will give college grads the chance to live and work in the US for up to 12 months. More here from The Irish Times

ILIR meets with Candidate Sen. John McCain

ILIR vice-chairman Ciaran Staunton met with Presidential Candidate Sen. John McCain at an Irish American Town Hall in Pennsylvania this week. Sen. McCain told Ciaran that he will address comprehensive immigration reform in his first term if elected.

Ciaran Staunton Discusses Student Visa on RTE 1

The vice-chairman of the ILIR was on RTE's News at One today discussing his meeting this week with presidential candidate Sen. John McCain. Sen. McCain told Ciaran that he would address comprehensive immigration reform in his first term if he was elected.

He also spoke about what he knows about the new student visas. You can hear the interview here. Also, we will be posting information on the new student visas when it becomes available. As Ciaran points out though, they will not cover the undocumented.

Monday, September 22, 2008

McCain Pledges Immigration Reform at Irish Event

Presidential candidate Senator John McCain today pledged to create a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in the U.S. Senator McCain was speaking at an Irish Town Hall in Scranton, Pennsylvania. His remarks drew wide applause from the audience.

News stories about working holiday visas-

There have been reports in Ireland of a new 12-month working visa which would be available to Irish people coming to the U.S. on working holidays, similar to the agreement between Ireland and Australia and the U.S. with Australia and New Zealand. This visa is not intended to be a replacement for any work being done by the ILIR. We will post more information on these visas, as and when that becomes available from the Irish Government. However, this 12-month working holiday visa is not our focus as it is not the long-term solution we are pursuing. In the meantime, if the news reports are correct, it IS a step in the right direction as it demonstrates the new Irish administration's commitment to restoring Irish American ties.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Irish Times weighs in on US election

Would an Obama presidency be best for Ireland?

Kate Fitzgerald
argues 'yes', Obama would benefit Ireland by reviving the economy, remaining engaged with Northern Ireland and favouring diplomacy over aggression, while Grant Lally says 'no', Barack Obama's suggestion that there might be no need for a US special envoy to Northern Ireland shows his naivety and lack of experience.

Familes on move from Ireland

The Irish Independent has been following the continuing brain drain from Ireland. A story this week shows that the rate of emigration is at its highest for 20 years. The story does not say whether some of the outflow includes immigrant workers to Ireland but still, the numbers do show that Irish people are on the move again. In particular, Irish construction workers are being wooed in Canada and Australia.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Obama Reaches Out To Irish America

At last! Someone in Obama's campaign (or maybe it was the senator himself?) has reached out to the Irish American community. The Irish Voice, says that Obama has picked an "A Team" of Irish American experts to do just that.

Obama had foolishly left that role to Ms Trina Vargo who heads up the US-Ireland Alliance. That was a ridiculously bad move for Obama given that one of Vargo's first efforts included a statement suggesting that an Obama administration would abolish the post of US special envoy to the North of Ireland.

The statement caused uproar in the Irish American community which worked so hard to secure the posting, a role which has helped maintain the fragile peace in the North. It also pried open a doorway for Senator John McCain to take advantage of the Irish American vote.

Now, the "A Team" includes such stalwart Irish Americans as Senators George Mitchell (retired, Maine), Chris Dodd (Connecticut), Edward Kennedy (Massachusetts) and Pat Leahy (Vermont), Governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland and Congressmen Joe Crowley (New York) and Richard Neal (Massachusetts).

Where does this all leave Ms Vargo? We fervently hope she is removed from any position where she has the power to influence Irish American policy.
Those of us who toil in the world of immigration reform are well aware of Ms Vargo's contempt for the Irish - despite the fact that her work is funded by the Irish taxpayer

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Candidates and immigration

The New York Times has created a handy side-by-side chart of how the two presidential candidates stand on immigration. Clearly, while we think we know where McCain stands after hosting him at several ILIR events, we have huge concerns about Barack Obama purely because of the involvement of Trina Vargo in his campaign.

Ms Vargo seems to understand the ordinary Irish people as much as Marie Antoinette understood the ordinary French. "Let them eat cake," and all that. In her haste to dissasociate herself from the un-hip, un-wealthy and un-popular undocumented Irish immigrants, Ms Vargo seems to have fallen hard for the overblown myth of the Celtic Tiger. It must be a bit hard to see the ordinary Irish struggling with balloon mortgages, unemployment and lousy health care when you're quaffing cocktails at Ireland's ultra-exclusive Ryder Club.

Anyway, you can see the chart for yourself here.

Unemployment Surge In Ireland

RTE is reporting today "shock" figures (no shock to those of us counting the new arrivals in NY, Boston, Philly and SF) which show unemployment in Ireland at 6.1pc. What's more, the reporter says the figure is expected to jump to 8pc by the end of the year.
"Men accounted for 73% of the increase over the past 12 months, reflecting the impact of the very sharp downturn in the construction industry."
The numbers are even more startling given that unemployment rarely rises in August because more people are working in seasonal (or summer) employment.

And where oh where does Ireland Inc think the laid-off construction workers are going to go?