Author: Billy Lawless

Senator Billy Lawless says thousands pinned hopes on Obama’s immigration reform plan

Ireland’s first emigrant Senator has described a ruling by the US Supreme Court blocking plans to protect millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation as “devastating”.

Senator Billy Lawless, who was appointed to the Seanad by Taoiseach Enda Kenny in May, said he was disappointed for undocumented Irish people living in the US.

Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / The Irish Times.

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Billy Lawless: the emigrant Senator

Irish Times | Jun 3, 2016

The Chicago restaurateur, who’ll have by far the longest commute to Leinster House, has been representing undocumented Irish since he realised that his customers needed help

When Billy Lawless takes his seat for the 25th Seanad’s first meeting, on Wednesday, he will be doing so as a representative of arguably the largest constituency of all: the diaspora.

Taking up office as the first Irish emigrant to be appointed to the Oireachtas will be no mean feat logistically for the Galway-born businessman, who lives almost 6,000km from Leinster House, in Chicago.

Lawless has had a lifelong passion for politics, but his early aspirations to hold office were stymied when his run for Galway City Council, as a Fine Gael candidate, was defeated in 1991. His neighbour and friend Michael D Higgins topped the poll.

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Galway immigration campaigner becomes US citizen | Jul 20, 2014

Anne & Billy LawlessA Galway man who emigrated to Chicago seventeen years ago and was named last year as one of the top ten American community leaders got US citizenship last week.

Billy Lawless and his wife Anne, who are considered ‘restaurant royalty’ in their adopted Chicago, were sworn in at a conferring ceremony on Thursday when they took the Oath of Allegiance and registered to vote.

They own the Gage gastropub and a restaurant, Henri, on Michigan Avenue, the Dawson in River West and the Irish Oak in Wrigleyville.

Billy is also a board member and co-founder of the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition and fights tirelessly for immigration reform.

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