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Irish in Britain attend parliamentary group meeting

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Irish in Britain CEO Brian Dalton and Policy and Public Affairs Officer Ruairí Cullen presented at the annual general meeting of the All–Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Ireland and the Irish in Britain in Westminster on 2 July.

The APPG is a cross–party grouping that seeks to promote positive relations between Ireland and the UK, celebrate links between both countries and their peoples and to highlight issues affecting the Irish community in Britain.

The AGM was well attended with MPs and peers from across the political spectrum and is growing in size, marking its importance and reach.

APPG chair Conor McGinn MP covered the issues championed by the group and events it has held over the last twelve months, including calls for an agreed route through the Brexit process that protects the Good Friday Agreement.

Other activities have included campaigning to save Warwickshire GAA’s Páirc na hÉireann and commemorating the Northern Ireland civil rights campaign. A special Westminster screening of John Hume in America earlier this year brought together a diverse grouping of politicians and members of the Hume family to celebrate the life and work of the Nobel Peace Prize winner. 

The general business of the AGM included the election of a new officer in Mike Kane MP, born to Irish parents and a uilleann pipes player.

Brian Dalton briefed the APPG about key work areas for Irish in Britain over the last year as well, while emphasising the changing demographics of the community, their concerns about the Brexit process and the subsequent growth of civil society activism amongst the organisation’s expanding membership. Several attendees expressed an interest in liaising with local and regional Irish community organisations in their area and that these groups could also actively showcase and advocate for community needs at  local government level.

Vice Chair Chris Ruane MP spoke about his plans for a Navvies and Nurses legacy project, while Karin Smyth described conversations with her constituents in Bristol who have recently obtained their first Irish passports. She said that this highlighted the multiplicity of experiences in Britain and the nuances of identity that are shaped by the long social, economic and political history of these islands.

Our representation in parliament and events like these enable us to maintain a visible and strategic discourse with parliamentarians and raise awareness of the issues effecting the Irish community.

Further details of the APPG are available on our website here.