Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform – Dublin Meeting

The U.S. based Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform (ILIR) will host a meeting in Dublin on Saturday, April 14 to create an opportunity for Irish families and friends to get the latest information on the estimated 50,000 undocumented Irish in the U.S. The meeting will be held in the ballroom in Jurys Hotel in Ballsbridge from 1-4 p.m. Jurys is located across from the American Embassy.

Niall O’Dowd, founder and chairman of ILIR, considers it imperative to inform and include Irish families in the lobbying process to achieve legal status for their loved ones. O’Dowd and other ILIR leaders will travel from the U.S. to address the meeting, which has already received a tremendous response in Ireland.

“ILIR has always been an inclusive organization and we understand the need for parents and families to be involved. We know the trauma every family suffers at the sight of an empty chair at family functions like weddings, funerals, birthdays and the desire they have for their children to be present,” O’Dowd said.

“Now is the critical time as the lobbying effort in America reaches its most important phase,” said O’Dowd. “We believe the support of the families and friends is very important for our efforts.”

He also stated that all the major political parties North and South have been invited to send a representative. “We have been gratified by the all party consensus on helping the undocumented in America. ” he said

“We think it is very important that parents and friends understand the complexity of the issue. We have had repeated requests from families about the issue.

“Anyone who attended our packed rallies across the US or our massive lobby days in Washington realizes this is a hot button issue for tens of thousands of Irish. They deserve to have their families informed of what we are trying to achieve.”

Some families are preparing to make a weekend of it. Others will travel up and down in the same day. Jimmy Ryan, a parent from Co. Limerick whose son has been in the U.S. for three years, is all geared up for the trip to Dublin. “Myself and my wife will get the train up the morning and then we can get the last one home,” he said adding that he has been eager to do something for a while but had always felt helpless.

“I’m looking forward to getting the information. My son has been living in the shadows for three years and it’s time I as a parent did something to help him,” said Ryan, who hopes the meeting will help create a group in Ireland that will work with ILIR in the U.S. to get the job done.

Dublin native Deirdre Foy, now living in Queens, spoke with her family and was promised that 10 members would go to the meeting in Dublin to support her.

“I spoke with my family yesterday and I was informed three of my aunts and my cousins will also be there,” said Foy, “we are very gratified by the response.”

The decision to hold the meeting across the Atlantic stemmed from several requests from family members of undocumented to know what they could do at their end to ensure legal status for their sons or daughters. The Dublin meeting has received great support from Irish institutions such as the Catholic Church. O’Dowd is hopeful that more will come on board and support ILIR.

“We have had tremendous support from politicians of all parties and we believe there is a huge informational gap we must fill for these families. We will be hoping to create a new working group in Ireland which will work with us in the critical six months ahead,” he said.

For more information, contact Kelly Fincham at 086 123 6179.