Sir, – Ruairí Quinn, in his review of Trina Vargo’s book Shenanigans (Books, May 18th), accuses me in his review of launching “a torrent of attacks”on Ms Vargo’s attempts to stop any visa Bill that helped the Irish undocumented.

Individual visa Bills have been put in place for many countries, most notably Canada, and more recently Australia, which received 10,000 visas yearly under the E-3 scheme.

We Irish who cared for our undocumented tried to replicate that Bill, given Ireland’s extraordinary contribution to the US.

Mr Quinn obviously approves of opposition by people like Ms Vargo, who referred in this newspaper to such efforts as “putting lipstick on a pig”.

She has helped prevent any Bill happening but we soldier on.

Ms Vargo claims in the book that I resigned from the board of her US Ireland Alliance because of this issue.

She is incorrect. I was fired by her for my stance on the undocumented after which she launched her campaign to prevent Irish undocumented from becoming legalised.

Mr Quinn’s characterisation of the Mitchell scholars as an invaluable and underused resource is incorrect. Can he name one Mitchell scholar who has made any significant difference to Ireland in the US since the scheme started over 20 years ago?

Ms Vargo’s book lambastes many in the Department of Foreign Affairs for basically not giving her more and more money. As public servants, they are unable to respond to her demands but given Mr Quinn’s many positions in government, he is surely aware of the extraordinary service many such officials perform. Yet he heartily agrees with Ms Vargo’s toxic characterisation of such good and decent men and women.

He should know better. – Yours, etc,


Founder Irish Voice,

Irish America Magazine,,


New York.