Wednesday, 30 March 2011
Joe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
Did the Taoiseach have an opportunity to raise the issue concerning the tens of thousands of Irish people who were forced out of their homeland in the 1980s as a result of the crisis at that time? They continue to live undocumented lives in the US, often in very insecure situations. There are many tragic stories, such as being unable to return for the funerals of their parents. This was a major issue a few years ago, but we have not heard anything very recently. Did the Taoiseach get any indication of the current position of our fellow citizens under the presidency of Barack Obama, and whether they and other migrants from elsewhere in the world would be given their full rights in the US?
Did President Obama say anything to the Taoiseach about the use of Shannon Airport by the US Air Force, and the facilitation by the Irish State - I presume the current Government will continue this policy - of the US armies of occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan?
During his meeting with Representative Peter King, did the Taoiseach raise the concerns of those interested in human rights about his hearings into the so-called radicalisation of the American Muslim community? This has been compared to a McCarthyite witch hunt against Muslim Americans and it has been led by a representative who, ironically, dragged his political career from obscurity to national prominence among certain Irish Americans 25 years ago by declaring his support for the disastrous paramilitary campaign of the Provisional IRA. I would like to know if the Taoiseach discussed this issue and whether he pronounced that it was deplorable to be stirring up hatred against American Muslims who have no connection with al-Qaeda or any such organisation.