The evening was a lively celebration of the contribution by the Irish and those of Irish heritage to the Houses of Parliament on the evening of 8 October.
It took place in the State Rooms in the Speaker’s House and the assorted guests included MPs and former cabinet ministers, civil servants and various other Westminster staff with Irish roots and links or just an interest in Ireland. There were also a number of Irish in Britain members and friends in attendance.
John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, reminded those on all sides of the Brexit debate that the Irish should feel proud of their contribution and are a dynamic part of fabric of a diverse British community. Ambassador Adrian O’Neill paid tribute to the departing speaker.
Stephen Pound and Siobhain McDonagh, two MPs with Irish parents, spoke movingly about the close ties between Ireland and Britain and the contribution of the ‘forgotten Irish’.
Pound, who will not be standing at the next election after over 20 years as Ealing North MP, reminisced about his time in the Northern Ireland Office and the importance of maintaining the Good Friday Agreement. His knowledge, insight and dedication to bilateral relations, Ireland and the Irish in Britain will be missed and we thank him for his tireless advocacy since his election in 1997.
We will always consider him a friend of the Irish in Britain.
As the Brexit process continues to polarise, events like these remind us of the need to build cross party consensus. Irish in Britain will continue to play our part and safeguard the common interests of the Irish community.
Many MPs and peers spoke very warmly of their Irish roots and links to the island. We will work hard to ensure that these links remain at the forefront of policy makers’ minds through the agreement of a new constitutional settlement – join us to ensure your voice is part of our progressive coalition.
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