14. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will report on recent meetings held by the Government’s special envoy to the United States of America; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 11080/18 asked on 08 Mar 2018)
Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): The Government continues to seek a solution to the plight of thousands of undocumented Irish citizens living in the US and avails of all opportunities to raise US immigration reform and the status of the undocumented Irish with the US administration and with contacts on Capitol Hill. The appointment by the Taoiseach of Deputy John Deasy as the Government’s Special Envoy to Congress on the Undocumented underlined the Government’s commitment to achieving a solution for the undocumented Irish in the US.
Since Deputy Deasy’s appointment, officials based at our Embassy in Washington, D.C., have been working closely with him, and they also remain in regular contact with Ireland’s contacts in the Administration and on Capitol Hill.
Deputy Deasy has visited Washington, D.C., on six separate occasions in his capacity as Special Envoy and he has in the course of those visits met with representatives of the US Administration and members of Congress. Most recently, he was in Washington, D.C., between 5-9 February and he will next visit over the St. Patrick’s Day period.
In addition to Deputy Deasy’s ongoing work, the forthcoming Ministerial visits to the United States over the St. Patrick’s Day period will provide an important opportunity to raise the issue with key stakeholders across the United States, including in Washington, D.C. I can assure the Deputy that Deputy Deasy, working with officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, will, under my direction, continue to give priority to this issue, mindful of its importance to the thousands of undocumented and to their families in Ireland.