[Sinn Fein]

13 September 2001

Call for immunity from deportation for victims of attacks in USA

Relatives and friends of some of the Irish people missing or unaccounted for in the aftermath of the New York attack are experiencing difficulty in finding out about their loved ones because they have been working without legal status in the USA. Calling for ``urgent action'' on this, the Sinn Fein Cavan/Monaghan TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has urged that a public guarantee of immunity from deportation be given by the US authorities to such people.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

``There are many Irish people working as `illegals' in New York and relatives in Ireland fear that they have been caught up in this tragedy. Among the injured and the missing may be people who have been working under assumed names.  The identification of these people, and in some cases the verification that they are safe, is proving difficult because they or their relatives fear that revealing their identity could lead to their deportation.

``A number of people have contacted my office directly about this problem, including distraught relatives who have had no contact from their loved ones. These people should be publicly assured that no negative consequences will arise for their loved ones if they identify themselves to the authorities.

``I have today furnished a formal request for the above assurance to be issued and without delay, to both the US Embassy in Dublin and to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Brian Cowen TD. It is doubly important that all obstacles to speedy identification be removed, as medical history details, including allergies to particular drugs, could be crucial in addressing the needs of the injured admitted to New York hospitals.''

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