Adams urges government to back undocumented Irish in America

The Sinn Fein president has delivered a keynote speech at a street naming event commemorating the Easter Rising in New York

Adams urges government to back undocumented Irish in America

Image: RollingNews.ie

Updated 16:10

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has called on the government to make a “renewed and determined effort” to support undocumented Irish in America.

Mr Adams was delivering a keynote speech at a street naming event in New York to commemorate the 1916 Easter Rising.

A previously unnamed street in the west Queens area of New York - a traditional spot for Irish Americans - has been dubbed 'Easter Rising Way' at special ceremony this morning.

"The Irish government needs to engage quickly with the new administration to discuss what possibilities might exist for finding a resolution and relieving the huge anxiety that the undocumented live with,” said Mr Adams.

“These men and women travelled to the USA primarily because of the austerity policies of successive governments. They were following the same path millions of others have taken in the past.”

He said many undocumented Irish pay tax, raise families and contribute positively to US society; yet are still unable to return home in the event of an emergency.

“While they contribute significantly to the US economy and are generally recognised as model citizens; they are the Skype and Facebook generation,” he said. 

Mr Adams warned that the key challenge facing the government will be to ensure that the support of the Trump administration for the peace process.

“Now that there is a peaceful way to achieve Irish unity, all of us - including the Irish government - must actively promote that objective,” he said.

Mr Adams has often been criticised in the US for his party's links with the IRA and the organisers of the event have come in for some criticism for inviting him to speak at the ceremony.

Ahead of the event, Mr Adams passed on his congratulations to President-elect Donald Trump on his election to office.

"Donald Trump had been elected as the 45th President of the USA. I congratulate him. The onus is on the President-elect to represent all the people of the USA and to play a positive and progressive role in world affairs," he said. 

He went on to say that one of Trump’s greatest challenges will be to “play a positive and progressive role in world affairs," adding “that includes Ireland.”

Adams and Trump previously met in 1995 when Adams visited New York following the IRA’s ceasefire.