Cowen to Press for Undocumented

TAOISEACH (Prime Minister) Brian Cowen had an hour-long meeting with the chairman of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform (ILIR), Niall O'Dowd, on the issue of the undocumented on Thursday, May 22Speaking after the meeting, O'Dowd described it as "very positive," and said it was clear that Cowen "is totally committed to helping the undocumented Irish.""Brian Cowen has made it clear that this will be one of his priorities and that he fully understands the plight of Irish citizens who are undocumented in the United Sta-tes," O'Dowd said. "He is exceptionally well briefed on the issue and I am very confident that he will make every effort on their behalf."Cowen, also stated he will visit the U.S. in July and attend Irish America magazine's Wall Street 50 event in New York on the 17th. He also expressed a wish to meet with ILIR and people from the undocumented Irish community. Cowen has family in the U.S. and once worked as a student in New York. He also played football in Gaelic Park.Cowen also told U.S. senators visiting Ireland on Monday that a resolution to the situation of the Irish undocumented was needed. Cowen, who met with a delegation from Washington, led by Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama and Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran on across-the-board issues, found time to discuss the plight of the estimated 50,000 Irish undocumented in the country.A spokesman for Cowen said on Monday that the taoiseach, while recognizing the political difficulties associated with the issue of immigration, was pressing for "an approach that would allow greater movement of people in both directions" between Ireland and the U.S. which could "provide a platform for a resolution of the plight of the undocumented." He said the senators promised to stay in close touch with the Irish government on the issue.Other issues touched up at the meeting were the possibilities of better trade between both countries, and the new island of peace and prosperity.

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