Irish Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan has described “disappointment after disappointment” for Irish immigrants to the US fighting for immigration reform.

“I acknowledge that it is controversial - but that is no reason for it to be ignored,” Flanagan told the Irish Times.

“I know from my own work as constituency TD in Laois-Offaly the harrowing tales of people disconnected most unfairly over a long number of years from their loved ones,” he said.

He said undocumented Irish were unable to return for “festive engagements like christenings and weddings and traumatic and difficult occasions such as funerals.”

He said that in meetings with US Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry he would tell them of “the deep sense of frustration on the part of the Irish community that expectations have been raised in the past and ultimately not realized.”

“There is likely to be executive action on the part of President Obama and I would be urging all concerned to be sensitive to the Irish interest,” said Flanagan.

The minister also said he wanted the US to “remain very much involved” and “to renew a specific interest in Northern Ireland matters.”

“While acknowledging the assistance and the engagement of the United States in the past, I see a role for the US administration in helping and facilitating and supporting the efforts to break the logjam which is unsustainable,” he said.