26 September 2001
Four Cavan men located in New York
Explaining the background to the location of four Cavan workers in New York, Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin:
``In the days after September 11th my office was contacted by a number of families from Co. Cavan who were greatly concerned about loved ones who had not made contact following the atrocities. I advised them of the Department of Foreign Affairs helpline numbers. They were reluctant to go through official channels. Other enquiries were initiated through the Irish community in New York. I wrote to the Minister for Foreign Affairs Brian Cowen, the US Ambassador Richard Egan and contacted the Department directly to alert them to the existence of this problem for relatives concerned about contacting their loved ones.
``The Cavan families in question have at all times insisted on maintaining their anonymity. That is still the situation.
``My call for the US authorities to introduce immunity from deportation for those caught up in this tragedy has not yet materialised. The US Immigration and Naturalisation Service statement of the past 48 hours goes some way to meet continuing fears of families here in Ireland whose loved ones are undocumented and classified as `illegals'.
``I have again encouraged people right across the board to utilise the existing emergency official network and have assured people of the confidential nature of the service offered by the Irish Consulate General in New York.
``Much to the relief of the families the four young people concerned were located. These young male workers were caught up in the tragic events at the World Trade Centre and have sustained multiple injuries. Fortunately we know that they have survived and the relief of their families is indescribable. I reiterate my call for the US administration, even at this stage, to consider the arguments in support of a declaration of immunity for those caught up in this tragic event. Our own authorities should also consider that the Cavan cases may well be replicated elsewhere in Ireland.''
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