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    Obama the focus of Irish attention

    By Noreen Bowden | August 21, 2008

    The US presidential campaign remains a focus of intense scrutiny in Ireland, and there have been several newsy bits worth noting lately.

    First is the news that a Fine Gael delegation will attend the Democratic Party Convention in Denver, Colorado next week. While there, they will raise the issue of the undocumented, says Donegal TD Joe McHugh, who says he is hoping to speak with Senator Obama and his Irish Liaison Officer, Carol Wheeler, who was appointed last month.

    “I greatly look forward to the opportunity to raise the vital issue of the Undocumented with the front-running team for the Oval Office.

    “Undocumented Irish people in America are in constant fear that they are going to be imprisoned. These people are not criminals; they are hard working people who pay their taxes, many with their own businesses, who just want to live a normal life.

    “False hopes have been plentiful for the undocumented in recent years and there is a vital need to keep dialogue open with the Americans. It is unfair to raise expectations for the sake of political gain. Recent visits from Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen offered hope to the Irish immigrants but little in the way of progress.

    “Brian Cowen went to the US in recent months, promising to work on behalf of the undocumented Irish in America. I would like to know what follow up has been made by the Taoiseach. Undocumented Irish are becoming more and more disheartened as more and more false dawns pass by.

    “We need an agreement and it must be bi-lateral. We need to work with the Americans, but we need political leadership from everyone on this island, North and South. This convention gives me a major opportunity to champion the cause of the Irish in America and I intend to make the most of this opportunity.”

    Second, there have been two interesting analyses of Obama and the Irish Vote. The first was by activist Tom Hayden, writing in the Huffington Post earlier this month. He says that Obama is in danger of losing the Irish-American vote.

    The second was an analysis by Irish Voice publisher and Hillary Clinton supporter Niall O’Dowd on Obama and the Irish-American vote, published in the Irish Times this week.

    See the articles:

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