Rep. Neal Becomes First Serving Member of US Congress to Address Irish Senate
Representative Richard Neal of Massachusetts became the first serving member of Congress to address the Irish Senate yesterday. The Springfield man is the chair of the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee and co-chair of the Congressional Friends of Ireland Caucus.
Speaking in the Senate he said the "number one priority" for the United States on the island of Ireland is to ensure the hard-won peace in Northern Ireland is preserved and reinforced.
Rep. Neal is heading a nine-strong team from the US House of Representatives' Ways and Means Committee.
Rep. Neal said that his delegation is bi-partisan, and at a time where there is limited common ground between Democrats and Republicans "we have found agreement, as always, on Ireland".
"Peace needs undying commitment and dedication", he said. "Nobody wants to return to when a border control across the island divided its people."
The Protocol is important and its implementation "must be the subject of a negotiated agreement and not unilateral action".
He added that "the legacy issue, as well, should not be allowed to get in the way of what those families need to know about what really happened".
"Those families need closure in their lives", he said, naming several cases, including the Finucane family.