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PRESIDENT'S FORUM

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Congressman James Walsh (R-NY)

February 28, 2000

In the 106th Congress, Congressman Walsh represents the residents of Onondaga and Cortland Counties, the northernmost half of Cayuga County and several towns in Tioga and Broome Counties.

Of particular interest to many in Central New York, Walsh proudly serves as Chairman of the Friends of Ireland, having been first named to that post by the Speaker of the House in 1995. He also serves as co-chair of the U.S.-Irish Interparliamentary Group.

Walsh chaired a historic Congressional delegation in 1995, accompanying President Clinton to Northern Ireland for the first such visit by a sitting U.S. President. Subsequently, Walsh has led other delegations and was a member of the distinguished delegation that accompanied President Clinton to Ireland in 1998 following ratification of the Good Friday Agreement.

Walsh is responsible for the Walsh Visa, passed by Congress in 1998, which as part of the peace process will allow citizens from Northern Ireland and the border counties to live and work in the U.S. for five years. The goal is for them to learn a trade and to experience life in a multi-cultural society.

A history-major graduate of St. Bonaventure University, Walsh is a former Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal, and has worked as a social services case worker, and as a telephone company executive. He served as Director of the Telecommunication Institute at SUNY Utica-Rome and taught telecommunication policy. At the same time, he served on the City Council in Syracuse, N.Y., as its President.

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Special Guest-Niall O'Dowd 

Niall O'Dowd is founding publisher of Irish America magazine (1985) and the Irish Voice (1987) newspaper, the two largest and most prominent Irish-American publications in the country. He was also the founder of the Irish-American Peace delegation, which helped bring about the August 1994 IRS ceasefire. He is currently an analyst on Northern Ireland affairs for CNN, and for the Irish Times and Ireland on Sunday newspapers. O'Dowd is a native of Co. Tipperary and a graduate of University College Dublin. After working briefly as a high school teacher in Ireland, he migrated to the United States in 1979.

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