Local SDLP representatives attend Dublin briefing on ‘Undocumented Irish’

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Friday, November 29th, 2013
South Down representative Sean Rogers MLA and his SDLP predecessor in the Assembly P.J. Bradley represented the SDLP at an All Party briefing in Leinster House hosted by the Irish American Association. The briefing, held last weekend, was an update on the current situation in Washington regarding immigration reform and the work being done on Capitol Hill to bring an eventual resolution to the longtime immigration problem. Speaking after the meeting Rogers spoke to Newry Times and stated, “The key speaker at the event, New York based President of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform and former County Mayo native Ciaran Staunton, explained the stage that the Immigration Bill has reached and he clearly pointed out the work that remained to assure delivery.” Rogers said that the ILIR President requested that every Irish Family with contacts in the United States should make it known to their American friends just how important it is for them to lobby their local Republican Congress Members by asking them to impress upon their party leaders in Congress the necessity to have Bill succeed. Congress Members in States where the Irish vote is of real significance would, he warned, ignore such a request at their peril. Rogers continued, “The meeting was attended by the Chairman of Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs Mr. Pat Breen TD and the Fainna Fail spokesperson on the Irish Overseas and Diaspora Senator Mark Daly. Senator Daly chaired the meeting. The forty plus attendees included representatives of all political parties in the Republic and from the SDLP. “We made it clear just how pleased our party was to receive the invitation to attend the meeting and we made known our welcome for the fact that the support for the undocumented on this side of the Atlantic was an all inclusive thirty two county support. “We did avail of the opportunity to make the point that representatives from the Six Counties should be included in the list of names representing the Irish American Association and to join with them when possible at events supporting the Undocumented Irish,” he explained. “We were pleased at the response of the meeting organisers to the SDLP proposal but our joy was short lived. “Despite the best efforts later that afternoon by the Chairman Senator Mark Daly when he put down a notice of motion at the joint meeting of the Dail and Senate Foreign Affairs Committee Government members (Fine Gael and Labour) TD’s and Senators voted not to allow Unionists, Republican and Nationalist MLA (Members of the Legislative Assembly) from the North join the committee’s delegation visiting Washington D.C. on the issue of immigration reform. Rogers added, “Outside of the immigration debate the refusal to proceed on an All Ireland basis prompts even more wide ranging questions about attitudes towards North South. I thank Senator Daly for his efforts and I know that he shares my disappointment at the Government’s decision just as he shares my view that the issue should be an all island, all party one.”
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