Monday, September 29, 2008

Irish Government grants Irish immigrant groups $1.5m

Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin has announced grants of more than $1.5m for Irish immigration organisations in the USA.

The grants will go to 16 frontline Irish immigration organisations which provide support and other services to Irish emigrants. The US$1,518,500 (€1,030,500) announced today brings to US$3,163,500 the total amout granted this year to Irish immigration and community organisations in the US.

Speaking after a meeting with the community organisations in New York, the Minister said:
"The Irish immigration organisations in the US provide an invaluable service to the Irish communities there and I am delighted that we are in position once again this year to make a significant financial contribution to enable them to continue that work."

"Irish emigrant communities have over the years contributed in different ways to the economic well-being of this country. It is important now that we continue to provide financial support to organisations that work with those Irish communities in the US and elsewhere."

"The allocations that I am announcing today are to organisations that are to the forefront in providing essential frontline services to Irish communities across the US, particularly to the elderly and those in need. They also work with the undocumented Irish, whose status remains an issue of the highest priority for the Government and which I have raised with key US
legislators in the course of my visit.”


Sunday, September 21, 2008

US to issue 20,000 one-year work visas

This a great step forward toward what we've all been hoping will happen. The doors have been opened and discussions are underway. Finally the unique Irish American relationship is being recognised and the visa issue as a whole is being discussed.

It seems that our new Toaiseach is holding true to his word of holding "visas and immigration' as priorities during his time in office.

To read the recent article in the Irish Times :

Tuesday, September 16, 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.

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