Kathleen Funchion, TD to American political leaders in the Dáil: "Push for Stormont reinstatement"
Sinn Fein TD, Kathleen Funcion addressed a meeting at the Dáil today, welcoming a bipartisan group of hundreds of United States Congressional and State Representatives. She welcomed everyone to the chamber and reminded the gathering of the urgency of reinstating the Stormont executive. She said, "We must continue to push for the Stormont executive to be reinstated. It is 15 months now since the people went to the polls in the north to elect their government. Today we should all redouble our efforts to ensure this happens.
Read her full remarks below:
"Thanks very much to Deputy Paul McCauliffe and Senator Malcolm Byrne for organising this event, a sincere and heartfelt welcome to our guests, particularly our Ambassadors and our Minister and a special mention of thanks to our Oireachtas staff for organising the logistics of today. "It is a particular honour for me to address this gathering as my own dad was born and raised in the South Bronx, NY. "We were very lucky to grow up with America and in particular NY playing a big part in our lives. Our family of course is not unique in this, many families in both countries enjoy this connection. "It serves as a reminder of our shared history, borne from a time when many left the shores of this country in search of a better future. In fact the Proclamation from 1916 references our exiled children in the US.
"Throughout the generations, this strong connection has continued to grow. We know that approximately 30 million Americans claim Irish heritage. Our strongest export destination in Ireland is the US and two way investment between our two countries continues to prosper.
"We have of course seen some challenges over the past number of years. "Brexit been the most notable, however in the year that we celebrate 25 years of the GFA, something that former Senator George Mitchell played a key role in, we must be positive and ambitious and not allow obstacles to halt progress in our political, social or economic relationships, "This is particularly true for the north of our country. We must continue to push for the Stormont executive to be reinstated. It is 15 months now since the people went to the polls in the north to elect their government. Today we should all redouble our efforts to ensure this happens. "To conclude Cathaoirleach, this event today says so much about the respect and regard our two countries hold for each other. Ireland has changed and is changing. This is an exciting time for our nation. We, our generation, have the opportunity to build a new and united Ireland. To build a new state that will be a prosperous home for all. "I hope you will continue the journey with us. I hope that you will be the generation to return to a new, united peaceful and prosperous Ireland."