The well-known Irish immigration advocate Bart Murphy is taking over as chairman of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform (ILIR).

Murphy, who sits on the board of the American Ireland Fund and is the chair of the coalition of Irish Immigration Centers, is one of theoriginal ILIR board members.

He will be taking over from current chairman Niall O'Dowd.

O'Dowd, who will swap places with Murphy on the advisory board, is stepping aside to devote his attention to a new business. He recently announced he was heading up a new Irish Web site, which aims to become a global Irish portal.

However, O'Dowd has pledged to remain committed to the cause.

"I will continue to serve on ILIR's advisory board and be available to the organization on an ongoing basis," he said. "My new role at Irish Central requires full time attention."

"At this key period for immigration reform," he said. "I believe Bart will do a magnificent job. There is no one more experienced. "