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Another Bill C. Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-21-07 07:57 PM
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Barack Obama's statement on the Irish peace process
I'm assuming a candidate's statement doesn't come under the "Fair Use" restrictions.

US Presidential candidate Barack Obama has issued a statement
outlining his position the Irish peace process. We carry the full
text of the statement, which has been welcomed by a number of
Irish-American groups.

"My family's story may be familiar to Irish Americans -- a distant
homeland, a journey across an ocean in search of opportunity. Like
many Americans of Irish descent, I too have made the journey to my
family's homeland.

"In 1987, I first traveled to Kenya, the birthplace of my father. I
discovered a warm sense of community. I discovered a land with an
unforgettably haunting beauty. I discovered a people determined to
grab hold of hope. In short, I made discoveries that are familiar to
scores of Irish Americans.

"The determined optimism of the Irish people has enabled them to grab
hold of hope in the United States, from South Boston to the south side
of Chicago. It's an optimism expressed in three issues so important to
Irish Americans today: a lasting peace in Northern Ireland, an
American immigration policy that keeps faith with our tradition of
offering opportunity to those who seek it, and strong economic and
cultural ties between our two nations.

"As I chair the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on Europe, and
as I travel around the country learning from and listening to the
American people, I will be advancing ideas and policies to meet these

"After years of hard-earned progress, Northern Ireland is now poised
to take another step forward. The IRA has abandoned violence and arms
and Sinn Fein has now voted to support the PSNI. They have, in the
words of Tony Blair, made a commitment that 'has been historic and has
been real.'

"To seize this hopeful moment, the Democratic Unionist party should
take the next step outlined in the St. Andrew's agreement: a
commitment to a power-sharing executive after March elections, so
Northern Ireland can continue the process of peace that its people so
clearly wish to follow.

"The gains of the last decade were in part made possible by U.S.
engagement. Going forward, we should continue the practice of having a
special envoy for Northern Ireland, and the our president should
personally engage on where America can play a constructive role,
working closely with the Irish Taoiseach, the British prime minister,
and party leaders in Northern Ireland.

"We must also pursue immigration policies that keep open the doors of
opportunity in our own country. My father's experience has informed my
own views on the issue, and I have seen the enormous contributions
that Irish immigrants have made to this country. Last summer, I joined
hundreds of thousands of people in Chicago to march on behalf of
immigration reform, walking shoulder to shoulder with many Irish
Americans who shared their own personal stories of hope and

"Yet our system is broken, and fixing it demands a comprehensive
approach. Last year, I reached across the aisle to work with
Republicans on this. Our proposal would strengthen border security and
prohibit employers from hiring illegal immigrants, but it also
recognizes that the deportation of 12 million people is impossible.

"That's why it proposes a tough, earned path to citizenship for those
in the United States illegally; replaces the flood of undocumented
workers with a new flow of guestworkers; and ensures that law-abiding
immigrants are welcome to pursue their dreams.

"The ties between America and Ireland go far beyond bloodlines. U.S.
investment in Ireland helped create the Celtic Tiger, and Ireland's
economic success has in turn led to a boom in Irish investment in the
United States. Incalculable cultural exchanges draw us together, as do
common causes and common beliefs.

"In 1963, John F. Kennedy made his own journey in reverse and
addressed the Irish Parliament. He cited the principles that unite our
countries, quoting George Bernard Shaw's command to 'dream of things
that never were, and ask why not,' and paying tribute to an Ireland
that 'sent their doctors and technicians and soldiers and priests to
help other lands to keep their liberty alive.'

"Today, President Kennedy would be pleased - but not surprised - to
find the Irish working to lift up other lands from east Africa to east
Asia, and to find an Ireland that has come so very far on its own. The
story of our two countries is constantly evolving and joined together.
I welcome this opportunity to be a part of that story, and look
forward to hearing your concerns in the months ahead."

Irish Republican News
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