The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

ILIR is Blowing the Green Card Game for the Irish

"Pete King will be getting a message from Sinn Fein . . ."

Patrick Hurley • 11 August 2006

In late June, the Irish Government's lobbying surrogate, the Irish Legal Immigration Reform (ILIR) descended on Washington to promote the U.S. Senate's emasculating immigration legislation the Reid-Kennedy bill, AKA the terrorist accommodating "Dissolve America Act". Unsurprisingly, ILIR is an amalgamation of the various factions of the unrepresentative, though disproportionately vocal, Irish Left, with unfortunate deluded Irish illegals being dragged along. The group first saw the light of day thanks to a healthy infusion of Euros courtesy of Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern. Subsequently, the entity has been sustained by further Celtic Tiger largesse. It enjoys the enthusiastic support of Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny, various other members of the Oireachtas, Sinn Fein and the SDLP.

ILIR's chairman is Niall O'Dowd, a sycophantic apparatchik of the Leftwing limousine elite and publisher of the Leftist weekly tabloid, the Irish Voice, a publication of ever decreasing circulation. If there really are 50,000 undocumented Irish, as ILIR claims, O'Dowd should be really worried! Empirical evidence suggests that they are most certainly not reading his weekly propaganda sheet, as evidenced by the piles of Irish Voices that remain unbought on the newsstands. Of course, the Voice, long a hybrid of the National Inquirer, the Sunday World and a fawning Kennedy/Clinton fan mag, has never been a beacon of intellectualism.

In implicitly nominating Niall O'Dowd to woo Irish America, the Irish Government and broader political establishment, have revealed an appalling naiveté and detachment. O'Dowd has earned the rebuke and garnered the ire of many in the Irish American community over the last 20 years. He came to prominence through his attempts to denigrate and undermine the organizations and institutions of Irish America including the AOH, the Emerald Societies, the County Associations, the New York St. Patrick's Day Parade, Friends of Irish Freedom and, indeed, the Irish Immigration Reform Movement (IIRM), back when there really was an immigration crisis with a capital "C". Niall is the brother of Fergal O'Dowd, a Fine Gael TD from County Louth.

ILIR's vice chairman is long time Sinn Fein representative, Ciaran Staunton. In fairness to Ciaran, he was one of the few standing in the Bearna Baol advocating for the Northern Irish nationalist community long before it was de rigueur to do so. In the late 1980s, he was instrumental in the establishment and organization of the IIRM in Boston. It is unfortunate that he should lend his talents to this charade. Ciaran is also Niall O'Dowd's brother -in-law. A new perspective on "keeping it in the family".

Because of the growing rapprochement between Sinn Fein and the Southern Irish political establishment, increasingly nurtured by a shared anti-Americanism, ILIR can be counted on to assertively use the Celtic Tiger's munificence to promote Dublin's Leftist Europhilic line. "A weird raggle taggle of Shinners and Free Staters," is how a prominent Irish American recently described the group.

As to be expected, in a wartime nation, which is constantly reminded of its vulnerability by almost daily headlines proclaiming terrorist plots uncovered and foiled, ILIR has had little success in advancing its Left wing agenda. A center piece of its recent machinations on Capitol Hill was, yet, another attempt to embarrass the powerful chairman of the U.S. House's Homeland Security Committee, Congressman Peter King of Long Island. King, of course, has long been a staunch advocate of the Irish American political agenda. As to be expected, he had declined to meet with the Leftist group.

O'Dowd and ILIR enthusiast Sean Crowe, a Sinn Fein TD from Dublin, whipped the crowd of mostly deluded illegals into an anti- King frenzy with Crowe telling the jeering crowd that "Pete King will be getting a message from Sinn Fein . . ." Notwithstanding the impropriety of a foreign parliamentarian waltzing into Washington and upbraiding the chairman of our congressional Homeland Security Committee, scholars of Irish history, and, no doubt, persons living in certain areas of the Northern Irish statelet, are keenly aware that a phrase such as "getting a message from Sinn Fein" can have connotations much more profound and sinister than the simple meaning of the words imply. Having spent the last decade working closely with the various protective agencies of the U.S. Government, and becoming familiar with their mindset, I can only imagine how vigilant, super sensitive, gung ho federal agents might have interpreted Deputy Crowe's remarks.

Following ILIR's repeated broadsides, the vibes emanating from Pete King's office are not good. The Chairman lost over 150 constituents and friends on September 11. In recent months, he has publicly revealed his displeasure with the anti -Americanism that is rampant across the spectrum of the Celtic Tiger's political and media establishments, AKA "Dublin 4". He is particularly disappointed at the way his commonsensical legislation, H.R. 4437, has been negatively distorted in the Irish American community by ILIR and in the Celtic Tiger by "Dublin 4". In March, former Minister Michael Woods, TD, chairman of the Dail's foreign affairs committee, described H.R. 4437 as an "overreaction" to Sept 11. Imagine, three thousand Americans - an equivalent to the entire fatality list from the 30 year Northern Irish conflict - are murdered in the space of three hours on one sunny September morning and the Dail thinks that King's legislation is an "overreaction". The persistent sniping from ILIR could well be definitive. Suffice it to say that it may be a while before the Chairman chooses to expose his ears to a lilting brogue.

O'Dowd speaks of "a rift" developing between King and the Irish American Community. "Rift"? What "rift"? Any "rift" exists only in O'Dowd's imagination along, of course, with 50,000 illegals. Consistent polling and empirical evidence indicates that the Irish American Community, just like the U.S. population at large, believes that Congressman King is doing an excellent job in protecting our nation. Irish American cops, firefighters and federal agents, those who are on the frontline of the war against Radical Islam, greatly appreciate his efforts. It is refreshing to see an elected representative taking a principled stand and actually advancing the interests of the American people.

Over thirty states and numerous local municipalities, tired of waiting for Congress to enact, and the federal government to implement, meaningful and substantial immigration enforcement have begun to institute their own anti - illegal immigration efforts from denying driver's licenses to illegals, to penalizing employers who hire them and landlords who rent to them. In recent weeks, the chairman of the GOP's Senate Conference, Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania has introduced his own immigration bill into the Senate, the Secure the Borders First Act. Santorum's legislation is not unlike the King/Sensenbrenner bill, H.R. 4437, which passed the House before Christmas. A likely scenario is that, with an election pending, the Senate will pass Santorum's legislation. It will then be easily reconciled with the similar House legislation in a House/ Senate conference, and subsequently enacted. Conveniently, on the eve of an election, Congress will give the U.S. electorate what it craves, the first steps towards genuine security on the borders and in the heartland.

In a debate in which the electorate recoils in horror at large numbers, such as 12 million illegals here, and 60 million there, many GOP/conservative legislators will tell you, off the record, that the undocumented Irish are not controversial. They are few in numbers - more like 5,000 (if even that) than 50,000 - speak English, are well educated and skilled, are producers not beneficiaries and assimilate effortlessly. A concept that had been considered in Irish GOP/conservative circles was for some provision akin to an annual quota of 5,000 immigrant visas for Ireland, which could have been covertly buried by our congressional friends in the boiler plate of any ultimate immigration bill. Such a move, of course, would have required political dexterity, discretion and stealth. Nevertheless, precedents such as the Donnelly Visa program, the Morrison Visa set - a - side and the recent Australian visa deal exist for such a concept. The Irish American Community does not have to conspire in the disintegration of the United States, in order to legalize a few thousand undocumented Irish. However, thanks to the antics of ILIR, in attracting the unwanted harsh glare of publicity and in alienating our friends in Congress, this window of opportunity is probably now firmly closed.

There is no such a thing as the generic immigrant group. Each one is different. Some, like the Irish, speak English, enjoy a high standard of education, are very well motivated and assimilate effortlessly. Others, not so. ILIR, by merging the undocumented Irish into the monolithic block of illegal aliens, who may not share some, or, indeed, all of these characteristics, has severely diluted these natural advantages in the public's perception. In aligning the undocumented Irish with anti American, Leftist groups like La Raza and ANSWER, and entrenching them firmly on the wrong side of the issue, ILIR has probably ended the subtle, benevolent relationship, which generations of undocumented Irish have enjoyed with the U.S. political establishment since the Kennedy Immigration Act of 1965. In particular, ILIR has alienated the Irish American community, which having suffered disproportionately on 9/11, understands completely the need for commonsensical, comprehensive security. Irish Americans have difficulty understanding undocumented Irish that, on the one hand, zealously propose themselves as potentially loyal American citizens, but, on the other, actively oppose legislation, which would implement commonsensical security measures and institute rationalism in our immigration system.

There are two possible explanations for ILIR's conduct. One is that its failure to read the mood of the nation - with over 80% of Americans clamoring for meaningful security on our borders and the preservation of our cultural, economic, environmental and intellectual integrity through assertive and meaningful enforcement of our immigration laws - and the nuances of U.S. political culture, has been appalling. Certainly, there is substance to support this hypothesis. The other, less charitable explanation is that the group has a much broader agenda than legalizing the Irish. Could the Irish illegals be only a means to an end? The acceptable face, the palatable thin edge of the illegal immigration wedge? Perhaps ILIR, together with anti - American organizations like La Raza and ANSWER, with whom it has made common cause, is an enthusiastic element in the extreme Left's design to obliterate the Judeo Christian, Anglo Saxon culture of the United States.

But what of ILIR's enablers, the Irish political establishment? Its failure to curb its progeny is just mind boggling. In this game, silence is interpreted as complicity. Why are Irish politicos, of all hues and stripes, so blatantly inserting themselves into U.S. domestic affairs to push the U.S. Senate's debilitating Reid - Kennedy legislation, which consistent polling indicates that over 80% of Americans - and by extrapolation Irish Americans - realize will emasculate this nation? Understandably, Americans - especially Irish Americans - are skeptical of any of "Uncle Teddy's" work products. In 1965, he, and his ilk, got us into this mess in the first place!

About a decade ago, as Ireland was been increasingly sucked into the vortex of Europe, it was suggested that the country's historical and natural affinity with the United States would eventually come under strain in the tug of war between Washington and Brussels. Ireland would eventually have to choose "Boston or Berlin". The recent anti - U.S. machinations of the Irish political establishment indicate that the choice has probably been copper fastened.

After our borders and interior are effectively secured, the American people will turn their attention towards the implementation of an admissions system that has as its primary objective our nation's cultural, economical, environmental, intellectual and security interests. Within that rational context, immigration will be a zero sum game with a finite number of Green Cards to go around. As Irish Americans our objective is to ensure that the Irish obtain their requisite share. However, as citizens of this great nation, we must also ensure that reform will address the real concerns and priorities of the United States, not the fantasy agenda of the Left. Fortunately these objectives are perfectly reconcilable.


Patrick Hurley is president of the Regular Republican Club, 30th AD, Inc., in Woodside, Queens, New York City. He is a member of the Queens County Executive of the Republican Party. In 2003, he was the GOP/Conservative candidate for the New York City Council for the 26th CD. He is currently president of the County Cork Association of New York, one of the largest Irish American organizations in the Tri State area. In 1987, Hurley was a co founder of the Irish Immigration Reform Movement, a grassroots lobbying organization that secured thousands of Green Cards for the then burgeoning illegal Irish community.







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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



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