Last night I attended the Labour Party Irish Society AGM. Labour Party Irish Society is a society for members of the UK Labour Party and trade union who are Irish by birth or descent, or who are interest in Ireland/Irish culture.
As John Clarke, the Secretary of Labour Party Irish Society, explains “Irish people have been moving to Britain for centuries. Mass migration began with the Irish Famine in the 1840s and has continued since. One million people moved from Ireland to Britain in second half of the twentieth century alone. They lived, they worked, they had families and contributed to all aspects of British society.
The great building programmes of the post war years relied on Irish labourers. Just take the reconstruction of Coventry. The already large Irish community doubled in the 1950s as it helped rebuild the city from the ashes of the Second World War.
For decades the wards of the NHS, one Labour’s greatest achievements, have been home to the familiar sound of the accents of Irish nurses.
That Irish people worked as builders and nurses was so typical it became a stereotype. But Irish people contributed, and continue to contribute, to all aspects of British public life. The image of Irish immigrants began to change in the 1980s as a new wave of skilled immigrants crossed the Irish Sea.
For many Irish people the journey to becoming settled in Britain may have been tough at times and the story of the Irish in Britain can’t be separated from the story of the labour movement or the Labour Party.
Given the struggle many Irish faced when they moved to Britain it’s not a surprise that many found a natural political home in the Labour Party.”
Islington is home to a large and vibrant Irish community as are many other great British towns and cities. Labour Party Irish Society celebrates the contribution of the Irish in Britain. Membership costs £10 a year/£6 concessions – you can join today at http://www.lpis.org.uk/join-lpis/