Undocumented migrants living in Ireland staged a rally in central Dublin on Sunday campaigning for regularised status similar to that sought by the Government for Irish people in the United States.
They erected a large green banner across a building in Dame Street, with the message, "happy St Patrick's Day to the undocumented in the USA from the undocumented in Ireland''. Gathering in front of the Central Bank, they chanted: "one day longer, one day stronger''.
Campaign co-ordinator Helen Lowry, of the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) said Taoiseach Enda Kenny had shown a deep understanding of the plight of the undocumented Irish, separated from families and living in the shadows, in the United States.
“It is time for him to acknowledge the people here in Ireland in exactly the same situation,’’ she added.
“Regularising undocumented migrants in Ireland would bring them out from the shadows and into the system.’’
Ms Lowry said this would be good for society and the economy and would strengthen the Government’s case for the Irish in the US. “It is the right and smart thing to do,’’ she added.
She said by the time the Taoiseach arrived in the White House for the traditional St Patrick's Day celebration, he would have received emails from over 2,000 people throughout the country urging him to act on behalf of the undocumented in Ireland.
Jayson Montenegro, from the Philippines, a Dublin-based carer, said he had been one of the undocumented since coming to Ireland 11 years ago.
He said he had come to the country to ensure his three children had “a good future’’, given that he could not support them at home.
“Undocumented people in Ireland share the struggles and fears of the undocumented Irish in America, and we share their hopes and dreams, too,’’ he added.
Mr Montenegro said he found Irish people “friendly and welcoming’’.