A Donegal campaigner for undocumented Irish in the US said he is shocked by the election of Donald Trump and is concerned about the impact it will have.
Reacting to the election of President Donald Trump yesterday morning, Michael McMahon, Bundoran, the Chairman of the Families of the Undocumented in Ireland, said that he was absolutely shocked. He described the election as a political bombshell.
“To be honest I thought that Clinton would prevail but that was not to be the case and we are now in a situation that we are dealing totally with the unknown,” he said.
“This man has no political experience whatsoever - he has never served in even the most junior of political offices.
“What concerns me most is his racist statements in relation to the immigrants in the United States. His reference to the 'Wall' in relation to Mexico is the one that grabbed all the headlines, but there is no doubt that this attitude prevails in all immigration situations.
“We have built up a strong relationship with various politicians and organisations in the United States including senior republicans like Senator John McCain - in relation to the undocumented we just don’t we know where we stand this morning.
“I would welcome his few words this morning in relation to to working together and uniting the people. He has been democratically elected and we are just going to have to work with the new administration.
“I totally respect the United States needs a border policy but we are not looking for any special favours. We just want clarification for the many Irish families who have made a massive contribution to the US over the years. They are living in very uncertain times.”
Minister for state with responsibility for the diaspora, Joe McHugh, said Irish politicians and campaigners will have to be creative in dealing with the issue under the new administration.
The Donegal TD said he would be meeting with campaigners when he visits the US next week.
“The undocumented will still be very much live on my agenda. There is also a new Congress and immigration reform will still be my top priority. There was a lot of rhetoric before the election. There are still a lot of Irish undocumented and that will still be my priority.
“There are natural concerns about the rhetoric used during the campaign, but I am hoping that the very strong relations we have with US will continue. My message to the Irish diaspora in America is that nothing changes. We have to look at new ways of facilitating people who are undocumented. We have to use our creative ability in looking at potential solutions.”
Speaking about concerns that US companies based in Ireland could withdraw because of tax incentives to relocate to the US, he said it was too early to predict what might happen.
He said he would be engaging with the American Chamber of Commerce in Donegal about the issue.
American companies such as Pramerica, Zeus and United Health Care in Letterkenny, and Abbott Ireland in Donegal town, employ over 2,000 people in the county.
The minister for state’s view was shared by Chief Executive of the Letterkenny Chamber, Toni Forrester, who said she did not think there is cause for concern about the future of American companies in Letterkenny
“We have to see what happens in the long run,” she said. “There has been talk about tax and bringing down taxes to attract back American investment. At the end of the day, the law has to be changed and we have to go through due process. Our FDI (foreign direct investment) companies are expanding and all are employing lots of people and I am not worried in the short term by any matter of means.”