President George H.W. Bush
By Ray O’Hanlon
The nation has paused for a day of mourning after the death on Friday, November 30, at age 94, of George H.W. Bush, 41st President of the United States.
Tributes have flowed in from around the world, including a message of condolence from President Michael D. Higgins on behalf of the Irish government and people.
Said Higgins: “People in Ireland will have learned with sadness of the death of former President of the United States of America, George H.W. Bush.
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“President George Bush will be remembered for his long life of public service to the people of the United States and as a President who led his country at a period of significant change at national and global level, between the end of the 1980s and mid-1990s – a period of deep challenges to the multilateral institutions.
“To his Presidency of the United States he brought all of the energy and the values he cherished, drawn from his Texas and Massachusetts roots. He will be remembered, too, for the directness with which he expressed his policy principles and his efforts to achieve bipartisanship.
“On behalf of the Irish people I offer our deepest sympathies to his family and to the people of the United States.”
Irish Ambassador to the United States, Dan Mulhall, was in attendance at today’s service in the National Cathedral and Irish tenor Ronan Tynan was among those who sang in tribute.
“I am honored, as Ambassador of Ireland to the USA, to attend the state funeral of former President George H.W. Bush to offer my sympathies on behalf of Ireland to his family and to the people of the United States, said the ambassador.
“President Bush will be remembered as a wise, respected and courageous politician who was devoted to his country and to public service. He also leaves behind a remarkable international legacy for which he is widely admired. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.”
President Bush did leave his mark on Ireland and Irish America.
He signed the Morrison visas into law on November, 29 1990.
President Bush, and his predecessor Ronald Reagan, were broadly supportive of immigration reform, albeit with increased border security aimed at preventing the growth in numbers of illegal and undocumented from all countries, Ireland included.
The visas named after Congressman Bruce Morrison were built into the Immigration Act of 1990.
“His support and his willingness to sign the Immigration Act of 1990 enabled the enactment of the Morrison Visas,” former congressman Morrison said Tuesday.
Morrison said that Bush had in fact acted against the advice of the Immigration and Naturalization Service at the time.
“Contrary to his own INS, President Bush supported the bill, and that’s how the Morrison Visas became law,” he said.