‘Irish in Britain’ celebrates 40 years

Ambassador Dan Mulhall addresses guests

By staff reporter

A new chapter began on November 20 for Irish in Britain as it officially marked its name change and new identity at a reception hosted by the Embassy of Ireland.

The reception was also a celebration of the work of the organisation over the last 40 years as the Federation of Irish Societies.

The change of name to ‘Irish in Britain’ is based on a year of consultation with Members, funders, businesses and the wider Irish community. Whilst the name is changing, the role and work of the organisation will remain the same.

Centrally it will continue to be a Membership organisation delivering research, lobbying at a policy and parliamentary level, campaigning on behalf of the community and supporting Irish organisations and projects throughout Britain. The direction will also be about widening membership with engagement from across the whole Irish community in Britain.

Dr Mary Tilki, Chair of Irish in Britain said: “We are delighted to be celebrating the launch of our new name and identity ‘Irish in Britain’ at the Embassy this evening. It has been very important for us in this process to retain a connection with our past whilst setting us for growth over the next 40 years.

“The organisation was created by the Irish community, for the Irish community and this remains central to our future direction. We will continue to place the needs and aspirations of our community at the heart of what we do and lead, champion and celebrate the different experiences of our vibrant community.”

Comhaltas musicians

Jennie McShannon, CEO added: “In reviewing our organisation we have come to recognise that Irish in Britain is the lynchpin of the community – a vital part that connects and reflects the whole community and makes a difference to the lives and experiences of Irish people across Britain.

“We have a track-record that proves this – over the last 40 years we have led on community issues: challenging the Prevention of Terrorism Act; researching and lobbying on the specific health needs of the Irish in Britain and securing the inclusion of the ‘White Irish’ category for the first time in the 2001 Census.  A vital part of our work has also been supporting the development of the infrastructure of Irish organisations and networks.

“More recently our campaigning work on memory loss and dementia; our representation at the Constitutional Convention on the voting rights of Irish abroad and our championing of the Irish cultural contribution to Britain across arts, sport and heritage have been in response to contemporary issues affecting the Irish in Britain today.”

“Irish in Britain thrives on working in partnership. We are driven by the creativity and energy of our Members and wider community and value their expertise and knowledge. In doing so we encourage people and organisations that may not have engaged with us in the past to contact us and get involved.”

Photo Credit: Gavin Freeborn



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