Today’s Irish Independent announced:
Ahern plans his Congress speech
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern is now expected to deliver his historic address to the joint Houses of Congress in Washington in late April or early May.
Last night, a Government spokesman gave the first indication of a date being scheduled for Mr Ahern's speech, although he stressed it is entirely up to the US side to determine when it will happen. The dates around April 28, 29, and 30 are now under discussion.
This news comes over two months on from the Dáil’s bilateral agreement to find a solution to the plight of our friends and family in the US. Unfortunately this week I was told by Fine Gael representatives that apart from one meeting on the topic in December nothing has been done.
TD Michael Ring, who brought the question to the Dáil in November, told me, “I have tabled further Parliamentary Questions for answer when the Dáil resumes at the end of the month.” While we are thankful to those in government who are trying to raise the topic it is clear that not enough is being done. At the end of January it is laughable to use Christmas Holidays as an excuse.
We are now planning a meeting of the Friends and Family in Dublin before the Taoiseach’s trip to try to gather momentum on the topic. What is needed now is for everyone to email / phone their local politicians and see what they can do. We need to act now.