Irish-Americans, like all Americans, are struggling in the current economic downturn. As president, Barack Obama will provide urgently needed financial relief for working and middle class Americans. He will:
- Enact an emergency economic plan to jumpstart the economy;
- Provide a middle class tax cut of up to $1,000 for 95% of workers and their families;
- Provide affordable, quality, portable health care to every American, saving a typical family up to $2,500 each year;
- Make college affordable by providing a tax credit that makes the first $4000 of a college education free for most Americans.
Barack Obama will focus on issues that are of special importance to Irish-Americans. Both Senator Obama and his running mate Senator Joe Biden come from Irish stock. Obama’s great, great great grandfather on his mother’s side, Fulmoth Kearney, set sail from County Offaly in 1850, arriving in New York and eventually settling in Ohio. Obama, who has lived and worked on the south side of Chicago, the heart of the city’s strong Irish community, has a first-hand understanding of the remarkable contributions made by Irish immigrants to the United States.
And since Obama’s father came to the United States from Kenya on a scholarship, Senator Obama has a unique sense of the “melting pot” that makes America great.
PEACE. While Senator McCain opposed granting a visa to Gerry Adams during the critical period of the peace process and accused President Clinton of pandering to the Irish in pursuing peace, Obama will make it a priority of his Presidency to build upon the ground-breaking work of the Irish and British Governments, the Clinton Administration, and the parties to the conflict in Northern Ireland and help solidify the peace. Senator Obama will commit all necessary resources to helping with the final steps of the peace process, including devolution of justice. He will invest the weight of the Presidency and appoint a prominent special envoy in order to advance this vital cause.
COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM. While John McCain has backed away from supporting meaningful immigration reform, Obama will fight for a reform package that keeps open the doors of opportunity in our country. Obama has played a leading role in crafting comprehensive immigration reform and believes that our broken immigration system can only be fixed by putting politics aside and offering a solution that strengthens our security while reaffirming our heritage as a nation of immigrants. As president, he will fight to strengthen border security, fix the dysfunctional immigration bureaucracy, and require a responsible path to earned citizenship for undocumented workers and their families.
STRENGTHENED BOND. American investment in Ireland played a leading role in fueling the Celtic Tiger, and Ireland’s economic prosperity in turn led to a boom in Irish investment in the United States. Obama believes that cultural, educational and business exchanges will draw us closer together, as do our common causes and common beliefs. As president, Obama will do all he can to strengthen U.S.-Irish cultural, educational and trade ties which are central to the identities of the United States and Ireland.