The London Irish Centre will receive £1m in funding from the Irish government towards redeveloping the hub into a “word class facility”.
As part of the Global Ireland 2025 initiative, the Government has pledged £1m towards the redevelopment of the Irish centre in Camden, London.
The London Irish Centre opened in 1955 to meet the needs of newly arrived Irish emigrants and became a significant social and cultural venue for the Irish community in London.
The plan is to develop the building to become a “world-class facility” after a fundraising campaign was launched last year by the centre.
Professor Fiona Nolan, the chair of the London Irish Centre Charity, said of the announcement: “We are very grateful to the government of Ireland for their generous commitment. The centre and the charity has been at the heart of the Irish community in London since 1954, providing care for those in need and showcasing Ireland’s culture in all its diversity.
“We want to build on that heritage by redeveloping the centre to do even more for our communities and bring Irish culture and arts to everyone in London.”
The decision was announced at an event in the Barbican, London to mark the end of Culture Ireland, GB18, a year-long arts programme to celebrate and renew Ireland’s cultural ties with Britain.
Speaking at the event at the Barbican in London, Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan said: “The current facility has a great heart and plays a hugely important role for Irish diaspora in London as well as the new audiences it attracts for its strong and diverse arts programme.
“The new building will accommodate 21st century needs and reflect the national self-confidence Ireland possesses and our shared desire that we be ambitious in promoting the interests of Ireland on the world stage.
“This investment is indicative of our belief that is critical for us to maintain build on our strong cultural relations with Britain.”
Ciarán Cannon, Minister of State for the Diaspora, said that he is “delighted” at the news because the centre has provided, “help, support and care to the Irish community in London, particular to its most vulnerable members”.
The London Irish Centre will be a flagship Irish cultural centre, alongside the Irish Arts Center, New York and Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris which present a year-round programme of Irish artists.
It will also, the Irish government said in a statement, complement the work of other community organisations in London who are very active in promoting Irish arts and culture.