President Michael D Higgins, on his fourth visit to the UK since becoming Ireland’s Head of State, renewed old acquaintances at the Harringey Irish Centre in Tottenham.
Mr. Higgins had been a close friend of Tottenham’s late, long-serving Labour MP Bernie Grant and both had campaigned to save Irish and black community centres in the 1980s.
Mr. Grant had called it the “green and black alliance”.
On his visit to Tottenham Mr. Higgins was greeted by members of London’s Monserrat community, the Caribbean island between known as the Emerald Isle of the Caribbean, who use the Irish centre along with various other ethnic community groups.
Mr. Higgins was welcomed on this occasion by Mr. Grant’s successor David Lammy MP who – mindful of the presence of London manager Paul Coggins, team captain Seamus Hannon and other members of the squad – said he would be cheering London on to victory against Mayo in the Connacht final
Mr Higgins, however, preferred to sit on the fence and remain neutral but he said the London team had won “a deserved place” at the Castlebar final.
“This is a fantastic and deserved achievement and is a testament to the GAA in Britain and the work that they have been doing over the years to promote our national games,” he went on.
“It is very encouraging to see how the Irish community in Britain has evolved over recent years, and as, a direct consequence, how far the relationship between our countries has changed,” he said.
“I firmly believe that Ireland and Britain now much better understand, respect and honour the history we share and encounter with our different narratives, and we are now working together as confident equal partners on the world stage,” he said.