GAELIC Park in the Bronx will open its gates this Sunday for a day of sporting entertainment, but on June 27 all the proceeds will be donated to the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform (ILIR).

The New York GAA is hosting a field day with six games back to back, with all proceeds to support ILIR, which continues to fight for a comprehensive immigration reform bill.

Larry McCarthy, chairman of the New York GAA said, “Immigration reform is a very important issue to the New York GAA with a solution to the future flow of Irish emigrants coming into the United States the very existence of the New York GAA and others around the country,”

He added, “This is a wonderful opportunity for us at Gaelic Park to show our support for those who have been working over the last four years to achieve immigration reform.

“What is key now is that we all support the work that is being done by the ILIR, help them in whatever way they need and come out and support them on Sunday, June 27, at Gaelic Park.”

Over the past few months ILIR has traveled to the White House, Texas, Florida, Colorado, Arizona, Boston, New Jersey, South Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Montana, where members have met with the Irish and Irish American impressing upon them the importance of contacting their politicians and aiding with the fight for comprehensive immigration reform.

Ciaran Staunton, president of ILIR said, “The GAA have been instrumental to our continued success around the country.”

He added, “Since the collapse of the Kennedy/McCain bill the ILIR has worked diligently around the country to make contact with influential senators and those on the Judiciary Committee, and the organizations like the GAA and the AOH have been instrumental in most of those cities setting up meetings and helping us getting the word out.”

Staunton credited GAA members in Boston for setting up a first of a kind meeting with Senator Scott Brown a few months ago and said the “very successful” meeting wouldn’t have been possible without the GAA’s influence.

“We need to ensure going forward that the ILIR works with the support of groups like the GAA and the AOH. They are the backbone of our community,” added Staunton.

Citing the need for a comprehensive immigration reform bill to legalize the Irish undocumented in the country as ILIR’s top priority, Staunton also said the group is working diligently to find a way to open up a legal path for Irish people to come to the U.S. on an annual basis.

“Let’s face it, with high unemployment in Ireland at the moment we have to do something to create a path for the people who want to come out and for the people who are here. They are here for life so that too needs to be rectified,” he said.

Staunton hopes that families will join the ILIR in Gaelic Park on Sunday to enjoy the field day and show their support for the Irish immigrants “who need our help.”

The day will kick-off with the under-16 final at 10 a.m. followed by the under-18 final at 11:30 a.m. At 1 p.m. the Cavan ladies will take on the Kerry/Donegal ladies in what is expected to be a thrilling game.

Immediately following, the Tipperary hurling team will take on the Galway hurling team at 2:30 p.m., and at 4 p.m. Leitrim will play Donegal in the senior football championship. And lastly Down will take on Cavan in the football.

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