Call for Taoiseach to raise undocumented Irish on Capitol Hill

Crown questions Portlaoise report with no link between baby deaths and staffing with doubled birth rate

A call has been made to ensure Taoiseach Enda Kenny raises the issue of the undocumented Irish and immigration reform while on Capitol Hill in Washington DC for St Patrick's week events.

Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly said that last year when the Taoiseach's speech was released to the Irish media, it referred to the need to address immigration reform. Mr Daly told the Seanad however that "the transcripts of his meeting showed that the issue was not raised".

Seanad leader Maurice Cummins (FG) said the Taoiseach would again raise the matter of the undocumented Irish "with as many politicians as he possibly can on Capitol Hill when he visits there for St Patrick's Day". Mr Cummins added: "I am certainly not privy to any private conversations between the Taoiseach and President Obama, but I am sure he will raise that matter again."

Independent Senator John Crown said he was very troubled by a central message of the report on the deaths of babies at Portlaoise hospital, that there was no linkage with a deficiency in staffing levels.


Prof Crown said that between 2000 and 2009, the population of the hospital's catchment area rose by 37 per cent and births doubled from 1,000 to 2,000, compared to a 17 per cent increase nationally. Despite the doubling of births, however, there was no increase in consultant numbers, he said.

He asked how communications problems could be labelled as a major issue, without acknowledging that a constant use of “agency temporary staff fosters the very same problems of communications”.

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran is Parliamentary Correspondent of The Irish Times