With the historic visit of U.S. President Barack Obama to Ireland a few weeks away, two people from Donegal were appointed to key positions in Democrats Abroad Ireland, the official arm of the U.S. Democratic Party here at its annual meeting in Dublin this week.
Margie Bernard from Buncrana was elected to a second term as vice-chairperson and Sean Hillen from Bun na Leaca, Gaoth Dobhair, became communications director of the national organisation.
U.S.-born Maggie said: “The next eighteen months, until the Presidential elections, November 2012, will be an important period for the Democratic Party—a time when President Obama faces many challenges at home and abroad.
“To accomplish his goals and those of the Democratic Party a second four-year Obama Presidential term is essential as well as winning back the U.S. Congress.”
She added: “As such, a key element of Democrats Abroad work in Ireland is spearheading voter registration.
“As every single vote matters and with an estimated one-hundred-thousand people in Ireland holding U.S. voting rights, our job is to make sure they are registered and eligible to vote.
“To achieve these ends we have begun organizing a series of promotional events throughout Ireland.”
Sean Hillen, who is the main organiser of a special ‘Welcome Home’ celebration event planned on the occasion of President Obama’s trip to Ireland, said: “The President’s visit here cannot be over-emphasised, coming at a time when Ireland badly needs a shot in the arm of good news.
“He is a great orator and will no doubt inspire thousands of people here to think more positively about how to overcome a very difficult economic situation and work towards rebuilding this nation.
“It is a visit that will, of course, cement even more the close relations Ireland already enjoys with the United States, and particularly here in Donegal and the border region from which so many people have emigrated across the Atlantic.
“The celebratory event being organised will not only be a way of saying ‘cead mile failte’ but also show fervent support for the President’s overall efforts so far in the White House and his attempts to reach across the aisle on the Hill and promote bipartisanship with Republicans to deal with crucial issues effectively and efficiently.”
Democrats Abroad Ireland is one in a network of 127 Democratic Party global country committees. In Ireland, it has members nationwide from Waterford to Galway and Donegal to Cork.