437. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will report on the special envoy appointment to the USA; the meetings they have attended; the work that is ongoing; and the supports that are being provided. (Question 45696/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017)
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): On 30 June last, the Taoiseach appointed Deputy John Deasy as the Government’s envoy to the US Congress to work on the issue of the undocumented Irish in the United States.#
Deputy Deasy undertakes his work as envoy under my overall direction, along with Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Deputy Ciarán Cannon.
I have discussed with Deputy Deasy the Government’s priorities in this area and how the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade can best support him in his important role. In his role as envoy, Deputy Deasy works closely with and is supported by Ireland’s Ambassador to the United States, Mr. Dan Mulhall, and other officials at the Embassy of Ireland in Washington, D.C., and at our Consulates across the United States.
Our Embassy and Consulates in the United States continue to monitor issues regarding immigration reform in the United States on a continuing basis. They also work very closely with Irish immigration centres in the United States in providing support to Irish immigrants in the US, including members of the undocumented community.
Deputy Deasy is not being provided with any additional remuneration for this role. His travel and subsistence expenses are covered from within the existing resources of my Department. Likewise, the staff resources required by Deputy Deasy for his work are drawn from existing resources in relevant sections of my Department, as needed.
Deputy Deasy has visited the US three times since his appointment – in July, in September and, most recently, accompanying me to relevant meetings during my visit to Washington, D.C., in October.
The Deputy will appreciate the need for confidentiality around meetings with representatives of the U.S. Administration and members of Congress on so politically sensitive a topic.
Deputy Deasy has also engaged with Irish community and political representatives in New York and Boston. He remains in continuing contact with the Embassy in Washington and with officials of the Departments of the Taoiseach and of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The work of Deputy Deasy forms part of the ongoing engagement by my Department on the issue of the undocumented Irish in the United States. In addition to Deputy Deasy’s meetings with prominent leaders on both sides of the aisle, our diplomatic network across the United States continues to engage at every opportunity with representatives of the Administration, with members of Congress and with Irish community representatives.
I can assure the Deputy of my continued commitment, and that of the Government, to working closely with our US contacts in order to achieve a resolution for the undocumented Irish.