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Four missing Irish alive in NY hospital
  Irish Voice   2001-09-26 00:00:00+01

FOUR Irish construction workers, feared dead by their families in the World Trade Center attack, turned up alive, although seriously injured, under different names in a Manhattan hospital.

The four, all natives of Co Cavan in Ireland, were among the first evacuated from the World Trade Center where they had been working under assumed names.

All four suffered concussions and "multiple injuries," including broken limbs and head injuries but all are expected to survive.

Cavan Monaghan TD (Member of Parliament) Caomghin O Caolain of Sinn Fein, who was asked by the families to intervene, confirmed to the Irish Voice on Tuesday that the men had been found.

"You can imagine the relief of the families," he said. "They had suffered through the worst days of their lives. It has been an unbelievably tough experience for them."

O Caolain, who made exhaustive inquiries on the parents' behalf, finally succeeded in locating the men in a Manhattan hospital with the help of the Irish government.

Earlier this week O Caolain had called on the INS to issue a statement that they would not prosecute any undocumented who were caught up in the blast.

The INS subsequently did so, and the story of the men began to emerge. Because the men are undocumented and also worked under false names, they greatly feared INS prosecution.

There have been persistent reports in the Irish community about the men since the World Trade Center blasts, though none substantiated until now.

As the Irish Voice reported last week, another undocumented Irish worker using false identification who narrowly escaped with his life stated that he saw many other Irish undocumented construction workers going up to a higher floor on the morning that the blasts occurred.

While stressing that they may have all come down safely, he says he has no information on their whereabouts.

Meanwhile, fears of INS consequences for illegals have been abated with a statement from INS commissioner James Ziglar.

According to Ziglar, any employer who lost illegally employed workers in the World Trade Center will not suffer government prosecution, nor will the workers themselves.

"All of us in the INS family have been deeply shocked and saddened by the terrible loss of life and destruction in New York," he said.

"We are committed to supporting the rescue and recovery efforts taking place at the World Trade Center.

"We have heard disturbing reports that some people whose loved ones are missing have not come forward because of immigration issues. We cannot let that happen.

"It is crucial that local authorities get the help they need in identifying victims and the missing.

"I want to personally urge the immigrant community to come forward, and assure everyone that INS will not seek immigration status information provided to local authorities in the rescue and recovery efforts," said Ziglar.

Ann Marie Scanlon, director of development at the Emerald Isle Immigration Center in Queens urged anyone who "has employed illegal workers to come forward."

Similarly the Irish Consulate, worried about the reports of Irish illegals missing has welcomed the statement from the INS.

According to the consulate, there are five members of the Irish community confirmed dead and eight missing. There may be as many as 16 Irish Americans who hold Irish citizenship also missing. But any final numbers are unavailable as yet.

Among those known to be missing is Joanne Cregan, from Churchtown in Dublin. She was one of the hundreds of Cantor Fitzgerald employees on the 105th floor of the North Tower.

Also missing is Charlie McCabe, from Roslea in Co. Fermanagh, a father of four who has been living in the U.S. for more than 20 years and is still unaccounted for.

Irish-born John Moran was in the U.S. on business at the time of the attack and so far, nothing has been heard of his whereabouts.

The body of Martin Coughlan, a carpenter from Cappawhite, Co. Tipperary, who was working on the 96th floor of the South Tower when the second plane struck, was found last week. He was buried in Bayside, Queens on Tuesday.

On the same day, the ashes of Ruth McCourt, who was killed on one of the hijacked planes, were brought to Cork.

Meanwhile, Kieran Gorman from Sligo has been confirmed dead while Damian Meehan and Bill Deane from Donegal, Ann Marie McHugh from Tuam and Sean Canavan from Tyrone and Sean Connnors from Leitrim are all still listed as missing.

There were also several Irish-born people who worked in brokerage houses who are on the missing list.


Irish Voice

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