Senator Lisa Murkowski
By Ray O’Hanlon
As the U.S. Senate prepared to consider a sprawling land management bill, S.47, the Irish American Unity Conference penned a letter to Senator Lisa Murkowski about a tiny piece of land.
Murkowski, who chairs the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee, had introduced Section 2202 into the bill, the Natural Resources Management Act.
The IAUC, in its letter dated January 30, commended the Alaska Republican for that introduction.
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“Section 2202 of S.47 provides the re-designation of National Park Service Reservation 302 as ‘Robert Emmet Park.’ Reservation 302 is the site of a statue of Irish Patriot Robert Emmet, who was executed by the British in 1803 for his advocacy of freedom for Ireland and is a hero to Irish Americans,” IAUC National President, Peter Kissel, noted in his letter to Murkowski.
Kissel wrote in part: “The IAUC submitted testimony to the National Capital Memorial Advisory Commission in favor of the re-designation proposed in your bill.
“Jack O’Brien testified on behalf of the IAUC and AOH that naming the site Robert Emmet Park will honor a selfless advocate for human rights and freedom, would be most gratefully appreciated by Irish Americans, and would also grace the parkland by bestowing on it a dignified name, rather than a mere number.
“It would thus encourage interest in the site and tourism by allowing for better publicity in brochures and reference books.”
Kissel noted that the NCMAC had informed the House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources by letter dated November 29, 2016, that the commission members had noted that naming the park would be appropriate, and would not be inconsistent with the Commemorative Works Act of 1986.
“It is most appropriate that the small park on which the statue is located should be renamed in honor of Robert Emmet. We heartily endorse S.47 and we thank you for your sponsorship,” Kissel concluded.
The Senate’s approval now has to be matched by the House of Representatives but the House, in the last Congress, gave its nod of approval so a similar response is expected this time around.