- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 9, 2006

Illegal Irish

St. Patrick’s Day this year will be dominated by Irish politicians lobbying for protection for the thousands of illegal Irish aliens in the United States, a Northern Irish lawmaker predicted in Washington this week.

P.J. Bradley, a member of the Social Democratic and Labor Party, was a one-man advance party for political leaders from both the Republic of Ireland and British Northern Ireland who will converge here for a week of activities to celebrate the annual Irish festival.

At a Capitol Hill rally, Mr. Bradley praised a bill sponsored by Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, to create a guest-worker program that could lead to citizenship for millions of illegal aliens in the United States.

“There is no doubt whatsoever that the McCain-Kennedy bill, which is our best and only hope of resolving this issue, is going to dominate the St. Patrick’s Day events in the U.S. this year,” Mr. Bradley said.

“I would appeal to all the Irish-Americans who have not yet got involved in the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform activity to do so now or we risk it falling in favor of bills that could criminalize our relatives, their families and connections. I hope that people at home will use their influence to persuade all Irish-Americans to rally to the cause.”

The Irish government estimates the illegal Irish population at about 25,000, while some immigration reform groups say the number is more than 40,000.

Next week, Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern is due to meet with President Bush for their annual St. Patrick’s Day visit. Peter Hain, Britain’s secretary of state for Northern Ireland, Duncan Morrow of the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council, and Michael Wardlow of the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education are expected to address the United States Institute of Peace.

The Ulster Unionist Party is sending party leader Reg Empey, Chairman David Campbell, President Dennis Rogan and Will Corry, the chief executive officer.

Nepal blocks talks

Nepal’s authoritarian government blocked a senior U.S. diplomat from meeting with a communist opposition leader this week, bringing criticism from Washington over political conditions in the Himalayan monarchy.

“The king should reach out to the political parties to restore democratic institutions,” Donald Camp, deputy assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs, told reporters in the capital, Katmandu.

Mr. Camp said the government denied him permission to meet with Madhav Kumar Nepal, general secretary of the Communist Party of Nepal, who has been under house arrest since pro-democracy demonstrations last month.

“We regret that the U.S. ambassador and I were not allowed to meet him,” Mr. Camp said.

King Gyanendra seized the government in 2005 and has refused all demands that he embrace democratic reforms. He claimed his coup was necessary to restore order and combat a Maoist rebel movement.

Embargo threat

Sen. Sam Brownback this week warned Japanese Ambassador Ryozo Kato that Tokyo faces U.S. economic sanctions unless it lifts its latest embargo of American beef.

“The Japanese embargo on U.S. beef has gone on too long, and an amicable agreement must be reached soon or Congress will have no choice but to impose trade sanctions against Japan,” the Kansas Republican said.

Mr. Kato reiterated that his government is reviewing U.S. safety procedures.

Rep. Jerry Moran, another Kansas Republican, issued a similar warning last week. He called for sanctions when Japan imposed an embargo in 2004 after a case of mad cow disease was discovered in a U.S. herd. Japan lifted the ban in January but reimposed it after banned products were discovered in a shipment of veal.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison@ washingtontimes.com.

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