Irish in Britain agrees priorities at Birmingham AGM

Irish in Britain agrees priorities Birmingham AGM
Irish in Britain AGM delegates

Irish in Britain reports financial surplus, agrees priorities, at Birmingham AGM

Hugh Maguire was at the Irish in Britain AGM in Birmingham last Saturday

Patrick Morrison, Chairperson of Irish in Britain, opened the organisation’s annual general meeting (AGM) last Saturday at St. Anne’s Parish Centre, home of the Birmingham Irish Association, saying that ‘Irish in Britain is back’.

His remarks follow some 18 months of extensive internal restructuring for the organisation once known as the Federation of Irish Societies.

In 2016 Irish in Britain (Iib), as it is now known, ran a deficit of over £40,000 and a smaller deficit the year before. This was despite significant funding from the Irish government worth several hundred thousand pounds. As reported last week the organisation received a total of €9.3m since 1990.

The meeting heard that accountant Conrad Bryan recommended cutting jobs and pay, which meant the organisation has, of this year, a financial surplus.

CEO Brian Dalton, who wrote a piece on these pages last week outlining his plans and priorities, gave the delegates some ideal of what to expect. He insisted that Irish in Britain should be able demonstrate ‘the great value’ of the work it does.

A central theme of the AGM was the talk given by Dr. Alan Hatton Yeo MBE who spoke about the importance and challenges of intergenerational practices, relationships and interactions. This was in keeping with the organisation’s declared focus on the health and social welfare of elderly members of the Irish community here.

This includes the organisation’s continued commitment to its Cuimhne strategy, aimed at ‘addressing the needs of all Irish living in Britain who experience all forms of memory loss, inclusive of age–related forgetfulness, dementia and Alzheimer’s’.

Mr Dalton told delegates the organisation has plans to ‘diversify its funding streams’ and to this end has developed a business arm and aims to provide members with utility bill comparisons and to give them business training.

Marie Dillon, originally from Galway, will run up healthy living campaign called Green Hearts aimed at reducing coronary heart disease and other heart related illnesses. It aims to educate members of the Irish community here about the importance of exercise, nutrition and general well-being. To do this she is enlisting the assistance of Sean McDermott’s GFC, current Warwickshire County Football champions, and London Masters as “guinea-pigs”.

In other matters John-Joe O’Connor was presented with the IiB Irish Language Award by the Irish World’s own Irish language columnist Christy Evans.

The meeting agreed that its other priorities should support survivors of child abuse living in the Irish community here, promoting LGBTQ+ rights both in Britain, and promoting marriage equality in Northern Ireland and for the London Irish Abortion Rights Campaign.

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