Changing fortunes of GAA

The Irish Independent Features section takes a look at Playing Gaelic In The USA. Games are organised and played in over 30 cities.
However in another article Big trouble in the Big Apple … for the GAA Georgina Brennon reports that problems have arisen.Not only has the changing attitude towards illegal immigrants from Ireland made life more difficult, but the improvements in the Irish economy have drawn people to return to Ireland, leaving many clubs struggling to field teams.

In Irish neighbourhoods across New York, moving-home containers are becoming familiar sites as immigrants leave America in droves. It’s a happy story for many fulfilling what had once been just a pipe dream; but one sad consequence has been a downturn in the fortunes of the one-time thriving GAA in the States.
The Association is struggling now that the Celtic Tiger is roaring for workers and the dollar has plummeted in George W Bush’s aggressive pursuit of a weak dollar to boost domestic manufacturing profits.

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Added to this pressure is an increasingly tough environment for the undocumented Irish in the US, who used to make up the majority of immigrants. Former Congressman Bruce Morrison says Washington DC is shaping up to be an unfriendly place for immigration reform.
“This is very negative towards immigrants. There is a lot of brutal stuff here,” Mr Morrison said recently in response to reports that Congress was poised to pass the Real ID act, the toughest piece of legislation in a long time.
Republican congressman James Sensenbrenner introduced the Real ID act which, among other things, bans states from issuing regular driving licences to undocumented immigrants. Most of the undocumented Irish in New York and other states rely on their licences to rent apartments, buy cars, see doctors and travel. It is their green card. It allows them to live a semi-normal life – or at least it used to.
Anti-immigration groups have stirred resentment towards America’s black market or what they call the hidden terrorist – and the Irish are feeling the pinch.