Sister Leena at the Irish International Immigration Centre

On Thursday 15th November Lena Deevy received the new Distinguished Services Award from the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins. The Award is for Lena’s work supporting undocumented immigrants in the United States.

In his citation the President said that Lena’s work has been made up of “small acts of kindness, unseen but with profound effect. As well as being a highly effective advocate for justice she represents all of the unsung heroes without whom many of the lives of our fellow countrymen and women would be a far bleaker place.”

Lena worked in Ballymun, a deprived area in Dublin during 1970s and 1980s with the local people. She established the home help service and trained local people in community development. After 20 years she went to Boston and, following studies in Havard University, became aware of the plight of undocumented immigrants through a research project. 
 
The Irish International Immigration Centre was set up and in 1990. Lena became the first executive director. The Centre provides services ranging from drug counselling to legal advice and childcare and campaigns for legislative reform.
Lena believes that immigrants keep the United States democratic, compassionate and visionary; her biggest concern is the cause of undocumented immigrants from Ireland and worldwide, so that is the work she will continue to do.
06/12/2012
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