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Irish in D.C.

The more than fifty visitors came to the nation's capital from both coasts and the heartland of the Midwest to listen to briefings from three top staffers in the Obama administration who work in the areas of both domestic and foreign policy.

The briefing, which was designated as a background one by the White House, was preceded by a very much on the record one in the nearby Hay-Adams Hotel where the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform hosted a lunch during which the delegation was brought up to date on the immigration reform situation in Congress by former congressman Bruce Morrison, who acts for the ILIR as an advisor and lobbyist.

Morrison said that the first signs of action in the Senate could be expected soon, as early as February or March.

The subsequent briefing at the White House, which lasted over two hours, and which was set in train by Stella O'Leary of the Irish American Democrats, was an opportunity for delegation members to ask a wide variety of questions.

The ILIR's Ciaran Staunton said it was a groundbreaker in that for the first time, the Irish were raising their immigration concerns directly with the White House.

In addition to questions on immigration reform, the visitors asked a wide variety on other issues of Irish American concern, most notably Northern Ireland.

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