Waterford TD John Deasy has been appointed by the Taoiseach as a Government envoy to the US Congress to work on the issue of the undocumented in the United States.
Deputy Deasy has considerable experience of the political process in America, having worked in the United States Congress during the 1990s.
Deputy Deasy will work with the Irish Embassy in Washington DC, under the leadership of the Irish Ambassador to the US, and under the overall political direction of the Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade and the Minister for Diaspora Affairs. He will report directly to the Taoiseach in his new role.
Having received a John F. Kennedy scholarship to study at Mercyhurst College in Pennsylvania at the age of 18, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in History/Communications, Deputy Deasy took up the post of Legislative Assistant in the United States Senate in 1990.
In 1993, he began working as a Legislative Assistant in the US House of Representatives, handling trade, foreign affairs, energy, environment, banking, economic development, immigration and human rights for Republican Ronald K Machtley in the run-up to his bid to become Governor of Rhode Island. While working in the House of Representatives, he authored the Tourist Visa Waiver Bill, which allowed Irish citizens to travel to the US for a holiday without having to obtain a visa.
Deputy Deasy later spent two years as Manager of Legislative Affairs for a Chicago-based international law firm before returning to Ireland in 1997, where two years later he was appointed to both Waterford County Council and Dungarvan Town Council.
Announcing the appointment, the Taoiseach said his colleague will bring much experience to his new role: “As well as his significant experience of 15 years service in Dáil Éireann, John Deasy also has extensive experience in the US Congress, including working on immigration reform legislation. He will bring that experience and his network of contacts to augment the extensive efforts already undertaken by the Government and Embassy to bring about reforms to assist the undocumented Irish.
“I am delighted that he has agreed to take on this role and I am sure he will make an important contribution to our national efforts on his issue,” he said. Deputy Deasy’s father, Austin Deasy, himself a former TD for Waterford, died following a short illness at the age of 80 last month.