US congressman honoured at Dublin ceremonyMonday 11 January 2016 17.51
Former US Congressman Bruce Morrison has been honoured at a ceremony in Dublin for his role in the Northern Ireland peace process.
President Michael D Higgins attended the ceremony in honour of the former Congressman, and presented him with a 'Peace Builder' award on behalf of the New Jersey-based Drew University.
Mr Morrison is best known in Ireland for pioneering the US Immigration Reform Act in 1990, which legislated for nearly 50,000 visas for Irish immigrants (known as the Morrison Visa scheme).
"The visa scheme deriving from this bill will forever be associated with your name and indeed, who in Ireland hasn't heard of the 'Morrison visas'?
"This is because 40% of those visas were allotted to Irish citizens, reflecting the very special relationship between our two countries," said Mr Higgins.
Mr Morrison is also credited with having helped facilitate negotiations which led to IRA ceasefires in 1994 and 1997.
"I am very happy to be given this opportunity to recognise publicly your important contribution, former US Congressman Morrison, to the advancement of peace in Northern Ireland," said Mr Higgins.
"You have made this cause your own with a generosity and tenacity for which the people of this island are profoundly grateful," added Mr Higgins.