Waterford TD appointed to work on issue of undocumented Irish in US

Leo Varadkar said he believes John Deasy will "make an important contribution to our national efforts"

Waterford TD appointed to work on issue of undocumented Irish in US

The U.S. Senate is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington. Picture by: J. Scott Applewhite/AP/Press Association Images

A Fine Gael TD has been appointed as Government envoy to work on the issue of undocumented Irish in the US.

Waterford deputy John Deasy will serve as an envoy to the US Congress.

He will work with the Irish Embassy in Washington, under the direction of Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney and Diaspora Affairs Minister Ciarán Cannon.

Deputy Deasy - who worked various legislative roles in the US Congress in the 1990s - will not receive 'additional remuneration' for his new role, but will have official expenses covered.

Announcing the appointment, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: "As well as his significant experience of 15 years service in Dáil Eireann, John Deasy also has extensive experience in the US Congress, including working on immigration reform legislation.

"He will bring that experience and his network of contacts to augment the extensive efforts already undertaken by the Government and Embassy to bring about reforms to assist the undocumented Irish."

The Taoiseach added: "I am delighted that he has agreed to take on this role and I am sure he will make an important contribution to our national efforts on this issue."

Irish leaders have frequently raised the issue of undocumented Irish with their US counterparts, with Leo Varadkar said to have discussed the matter with Donald Trump during a phone call earlier this week.

The status of the estimated 50,000 undocumented Irish in the US was brought to public attention earlier this month when a Donegal man living in Boston was arrested for immigration violations, after living in the country for 18 years.

The Trump administration has taken a hardline on the issue of undocumented immigrants. while congresspeople this week approved two bills as part of the wider crackdown on illegal immigration.