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Irish inBritain Community / Culture / Sport / Business

Ireland Inspires Friends of FIS Dealing with Dementia Irish Paralympians prepare for London 2012

Supporting the Irish in Britain

Issue 1 March 2012


Contents Welcome Welcome Irish in Brief FIS News Irish in Depth Ireland Inspires Irish in Business Irish Voice Irish in Conversation Irish Individuals Irish in Sport

2 3 4-5 6-7 8-9 10 11 12 13 14-15

This magazine is produced by: Federation of Irish Societies, 95 White Lion Street, London, N1 9PF Phone: 0207 833 1226 Email: Web: Twitter: @irishinbritain Facebook page: Irish in Britain Registered charity number 1092268 Company Number: 4013148 Deadlines for next edition: The next edition will be published in July 2012. If you are interested in advertising or contributing to the next edition please contact Anna Franks (afranks@ no later than end of May 2012. Copyright statement: Opinions expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily those of FIS and no responsibility is accepted for advertising content.

We are greatly saddened by the death of Michael Snee, FIS Board member and Chair of Halifax and District Irish Society, who passed away on 1 March 2012. Michael worked tirelessly and inclusively for his local community and his contribution to FIS and his presence will be greatly missed by all. Our deepest condolences to his family.


In his recent visit to London, President Higgins reflected on the great sense of community amongst the Irish in Britain and welcomed the proliferation of Irish in all sectors and industries; the diversity of experience of emigrants, long settled and newly arrived. He noted the role of Irish community organisations across Britain which ensure that ‘when faced with challenges, the Irish never walk alone’. The role of the Federation of Irish Societies (FIS) is about supporting our community, welfare, cultural and business members to walk together and take advantage of a network in which we can share ideas, experiences and successes. Our network will certainly be developing further over the coming year. He also noted that ‘it is in the cultural area that Ireland’s reputation is certain and is likely to be enhanced. And that has been an extraordinary contribution’. The FIS Ireland Inspires campaign, promoting the contribution of Irish arts, sports and heritage to Britain kick-starts over St Patrick’s week so we look forward to sharing some inspiring events with you over the coming year. FIS is the only national representative network for the Irish in Britain. We serve the community by campaigning, researching, and supporting a diverse range of projects. If you would like to find out more and enrich your experience of the Irish in Britain just get in contact with the team.

Jennie McShannon CEO, Federation of Irish Societies


Sally Mulready, a local councillor for Hackney Council and Director of the Irish Elderly Advice Network, has recently taken up her post on the Irish Council of State. Her dedicated work with elderly Irish people, voicing emigrant issues in Britain and working in particular for Survivors of Institutional Abuse and justice for Magdalene women has been recognised by President Higgins when issuing appointments for the Council. Congratulations to Sally on her appointment. We look forward to working with her as she brings the views of the diaspora on constitutional issues to the President.

Photo: Gavin Freeborn


Cricklewood Homeless Concern has received £1.6 million funding through its Cricklewood Improvement Programme to regenerate Cricklewood Broadway which has a long history as a destination for many Irish emigrants. It will be one of London’s major regeneration projects, creating local employment and revitalising the area.


In a fabulous boost to the campaign to save the Irish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith, the Irish government has offered £550,000 towards the cost of purchasing the freehold of the building. This is a great gesture of commitment towards the importance of Irish culture. We wish the Cultural Centre well with the final leg of their fundraising campaign. To donate go to www.wear yourheartforirisharts. com


Congratulations to Batley Irish Democratic League Club, which celebrates its 130th anniversary. Founded in 1882, the club has been an important part of the town and acts as a wonderful social venue for the whole community. Known as ‘The Nash’ by locals, it has over 1800 members, a credit to the successful organisation that has built up in the West Yorkshire area. For more information on the Batley Irish Democratic League Club visit their website at www.thenash.


Luton Irish Forum recently opened their new community building with special guest Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the event. The Irish in Luton have developed an excellent space for the community to gather for social and cultural events, as well as providing a secure building for future support work within the community. 3

Federation of Irish Societies

NEWS Join the Federation!

The Federation of Irish Societies started as a network for Irish groups in 1973 and as we approach our 40th year we have a host of new and exciting developments which reflect the changes our existing membership have encouraged – in particular inviting individual and corporate support for the Federation’s work. More information about how you can join this growing network and support our work is on Page 13.

Photo: Alex Coley

In the know – Research on the Irish community in Britain With an increasing amount of research available on the Irish community in Britain the Federation is developing an annotated bibliography of articles, research papers and online resources. The research hub will list the most recent research on the Irish community over the last 5-10 years. The bibliography will be launched by Summer 2012 and will be accessible for members of the Federation via the website. 4

Voice for the Irish Community

The Federation works hard to ensure that the Irish communities’ needs are represented in a variety of policy consultations. Our latest policy work has concentrated on preparing and submitting feedback to the Department of Health on their draft document about the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA). The JSNA identifies the current and future health and wellbeing needs of local populations to inform local priorities and future service planning. As cuts start to affect many services it is particularly important that we continue to utilise our existing data about Irish community needs and knowledge of specific service provision to ensure the Irish voice is included and heard in development of services. Our Policy Officer Seán Hutton is also currently analysing the Department of Health’s consultation document on the Regulations for Healthwatch England Membership. HealthWatch will be a new independent consumer champion and a statutory part of the Care Quality Commission (CQC), to champion service users and carers across health and social care. The Federation’s research into this consultation will identify issues relating specifically to the Irish community and enable us to present evidence into the consultation process.

Cancer Awareness Drive Look out for the Federation’s health supplement in association with the National Cancer Action Team which will be available from St Patrick’s Week. This eight page supplement aims to raise awareness amongst the Irish community about cancer and the benefits of early screening. If you would like to order your FREE copy please contact Charlotte Curran via email: or phone 0207 520 3138.

Photo: Malcolm McNally

exchange of ideas and a platform for collective response to changes in funding.

Photo: Gavin Freeborn

Ireland The inspiration provided by arts, culture and sport has long been an integral part of the migrant experience and kicking off over St Patrick’s Week is the Federation’s Ireland Inspires campaign. Ireland Inspires is about celebrating the Irish communities’ contribution, shared experiences and future participation in the cultural landscape of Britain. Read more about the campaign on pages 8-9 or visit the website to sign up for updates: www.irelandinspires.

Supporting Survivors FIS has been awarded funding to assist existing grassroots Survivor self-support groups and develop small local groups in Leeds, Liverpool and Leicester. The aim is for the groups to help each other overcome isolation, create a space for the

Three regional and two national events are being planned in 2012 to develop networking opportunities and support dialogue between survivors groups. An online website resource will also be developed. If you would like to know more about the events register your interest with Helen White – hwhite@irishinbritain. org / 0121 622 4169.

Date for your diary – Health and Social Care conference announced We are delighted to announce that The London Irish Centre is working in partnership with the Federation to run a Health and Social Care conference at the Centre on 7-8 June 2012. The conference will be part of the Federation’s event programme for the year. It is particularly relevant to health and social care professionals and providers and will explore the importance of culturally sensitive services for minority communities such as the Irish in Britain. To register your interest about the conference email: 5


‘I have dementia – I also have a life’ With an ageing Irish population in Britain today, the number of people living with and caring for relatives with dementia continues to increase

with older Irish people the need for culturally specific dementia support service became more pressing, so they employed a full time Dementia Support Worker, Dan Maguire. We spoke to him about dealing with a diagnosis of dementia and the impact it has on the individual and their families...

The early stages

Photo: Gavin Freeborn

You may have seen the recent TV adverts encouraging people to see their GP if they are worried or concerned about a relative. Showing a woman who realises her father is struggling with his memory, she encourages him to see his GP, and after being diagnosed with dementia he gets treatment and support while she was able to have “the dad I know and love for a little longer”.

Dr Tilki noted, “Older Irish people are often reluctant to access mainstream services because they fail to recognise their distinct cultural needs and experiences. Elders within the Irish community have difficulties getting help and those experiencing dementia have specific needs for services that are sensitive to their culture, language and religious beliefs.

Dementia is a group of related symptoms associated with an ongoing decline of the brain and its abilities. There are a number of different types of dementia including Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. The symptoms of dementia can include loss of memory, confusion, difficulties in communication and dramatic changes in mood among sufferers.

The Irish third sector already has a proven track record in delivering a range of professional services that replace or supplement public provision. There is considerable scope to expand these, but their survival, let alone their expansion, depends on sustainable funding which attracts and retains suitably qualified staff to provide services which meet the National Minimum Standards and the battery of legislation which must be adhered to.”

Dr Mary Tilki, Chair of the Federation of Irish Societies, recently published a report in collaboration with third sector Irish organisations in Britain which noted growing concern about the lack of awareness of dementia in the Irish community. 6

Leeds Irish Health and Homes is one such organisation providing support to people living with dementia and their families. Working prolifically

People often fail to mention memory problems to the GP thinking forgetfulness is just a part of getting older. But if you are frequently forgetting things and getting confused then it could be a sign of Early Onset Dementia. Have you missed appointments regularly or left the house and forgotten where you’re supposed to be going? Do you struggle to recall a conversation you had yesterday? Or have you noticed these things happening to a person close to you? Go to your GP and tell them that you (or someone close to you) are having memory problems and seek out support organisations that will guide you in planning for the future.

Dealing with the diagnosis

It is possible to have dementia and still live a full and active life but dealing with a diagnosis of dementia can be an emotional time for everyone involved. Seek out the organisations that can help like the Alzheimer’s Society who can advise on practical things you can do to make life easier when living with dementia. There may also be a specific Irish organisation in your area that specialises in dementia support for Irish individuals.

Person Centred Support As dementia advances it is often more recent memories that fade away. People’s strongest memories are usually of their younger days or in the case of our clients, the time

they left Ireland and took their first job in England. When a person is confused give them the opportunity to discuss the memories that they hold most dear. Put a ‘Lifebook’ together - a collection of photos and letters or anything that prompts positive memories. Every person with dementia must be treated as an individual. Their background and culture should be taken into account to ensure they receive the support best suited to their needs.

Photo: Gavin Freeborn

If you would like some advice on setting up your own dementia Support Group then please contact Dan directly on 0113 262 5614. Alternatively you can also contact other Irish services that run model dementia services including Irish Community Services based in Greenwich / 0208 854 4466. The Federation is planning a number of events around Britain in April to raise awareness within the community and amongst service providers about the need for culturally specific dementia services. A representation to key policy makers in the dementia sector is also being planned. The Irish Post are also supporting the campaign by raising awareness amongst the community through their media. To find out more about these events contact Charlotte Curran - ccurran@ / 0207 520 3138. 7

ping We’ll be kee is o h w f track o ired getting insp on our ‘I’m unter. Inspired’ co

The Irish Olympian and Paralympian Teams will be helping the Irish community in Britain celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year and will be attending the parades in London , Birmingham and Manchester.

rade Join the pa ur yo w and sho r the fo rt o p p su and Olympians ns in ia p Paralym p to the run u this the games summer!

We’re feeling inspired. Actually, we’re feeling very inspired and it’s you that has us that way. It’s all the arty, cultural and the sporty things that you have been getting up to. It’s all those songs you’ve been singing, the getting up at 6am for your team, the performances you’ve been watching and all the different ways you’ve been expressing a passion for Irish culture in Britain. And now we want to celebrate. Ireland Inspires is a new initiative from the Federation which aims to raise the profile of Irish culture across Britain during London 2012 and beyond. We want to spread the word about the fantastic Irish arts, sport and heritage that is happening right across Britain - and whether you’re Irish or otherwise, to show you that there’s so much to enjoy, to experience, to talk about and to get involved with. Get Involved Getting involved in the campaign means that you will be part of a national voice of people who value and want to celebrate Irish cultural activity in Britain.


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Whether you are an organisation producing Irish cultural activity, a GAA team or an individual who’s interested in taking part and helping to spread the word, there are lots of simple ways to be part of the campaign - it’s all about celebrating what inspires you about Irish culture.

Visit the website land p to Ireur Sign ue o ia sv Inspir e and check it s b dy e w ’s alrea out whous what it telling t Ireland is abouakes them that m smile!

The best way to participate in the campaign is via the website, www. The website includes lots of resources and tools to help you spread the word. It will have an events listing where you can find information on projects and events happening locally, regionally and

nationally. You can also add your own events and keep people updated on what’s happening where you are. Alongside the website, we’ll be sending a monthly e-bulletin keeping you updated with news, features, events and tips to help you join in and add a little inspiration to your activities. Alternatively join the conversation on Facebook (Irish in Britain) or twitter #irelandinspires. Feeling Inspired? Sign up now at and be the first to hear updates from the Inspired team. If the campaign has got you thinking - let us know about it! Contact the Campaign Coordinator Fiona Smith at / 0207 520 3134. 9



igmund Freud the famous Austrian and father of psychoanalysis once wryly noted that the Irish were the only race who could not be analysed. Freud may have been referring to our general tendency to regard those offering Will, trust and estate planning services with suspicion. Indeed many older Irish people confirm Freud’s theory and think that making a Will is the first step into an early grave. The reality could not be further from the truth. It is imperative, regardless of whether you are only beginning your family or approaching retirement, that you give thorough consideration to estate planning in the event of death. Hibernian Associates is a partnership that specialises in giving advice to UK based Irish clients on Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney, Estate Administration and Inheritance Tax. Recognising the lack of specialist estate and long term care planning advice for the Irish community in the UK, Carlow men Michael Roche and Patrick Walsh have established the company to bridge this gap. Hibernian Associates also advises on Irish/UK cross jurisdictional issues to ensure the Irish utilise the various reliefs available and reduce the potential tax for their beneficiaries.


To mark their launch they have become the first Corporate Supporter of FIS. On confirming their support over the coming year Michael and Patrick commented “We are delighted to become the inaugural Corporate Supporter of the Federation of Irish Societies. We are confident in our ability to help the Irish community and hope that our relationship with the Federation will enhance their work with the Irish community in Britain. Being Irish ourselves we have a natural empathy with the community and look forward to developing a long term relationship with both the Federation and its members.” To find out more how Hibernian Associates can help you visit their website www.hibernianassociates. or contact Michael or Patrick in confidence at info@ / 0207 333 1983.



epresentation on issues affecting the Irish community is a key priority for the Federation and we play a critical role in co-ordination and provision of the Secretariat for the reformed All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on the Irish in Britain. The Group of more than a hundred MPs and peers from across the political spectrum provides a voice for the community in parliament, raising community concerns and pressing for effective recognition. Spending cuts remain a major issue. With a positive message about our own ambition and the potential role of the community in the wider Irish Diaspora, the Federation is working with British and Irish politicians to defend local Irish centres as community hubs and highlight the isolation of Irish elderly at risk. The plight of Irish Travellers, particularly after the Dale Farm evictions has become an international issue.

Members of the APPG played an important role in the rescue of the Irish Post, support for the Irish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith and welcoming newly-elected President, Michael D. Higgins. Furthermore MPs around the country are supporting the Federation’s Ireland Inspires cultural strategy and Olympic initiatives.

Photo: Alex Coley

Raising our community voice also means pressing Irish issues in mayoral elections and referenda which will take place in up to 11 of England’s biggest cities later this year. The Federation is also looking to ensure a diaspora input in the Irish Constitutional Convention. The convention will involve a major public debate on the current Irish Constitution and how it can be updated. In particular the debate on giving Irish citizens abroad the right to vote will be a focus for FIS. If you would like know whether your local MP is a supporter of the All Party Group or get a copy of the 2012 APPG Summary Annual Report please email 11


CONVERSATION Ann-Marie Wallis, a research and marketing intern with the Federation shares her thoughts with us on being a young Irish person living in Britain.

What made you decide to leave Ireland? My story isn’t unique. Like many Irish people today, the reality of emigration was never too far from my mind. I spent four happy years living in Cork city while attending university (as a staunch Limerick woman, this wasn’t always easy!) and realised that my career ambitions would involve a change of scenery for me to progress to the next chapter of my life. Having explored many options, I decided that Glasgow would be my next port of call, hoping to further my chances in the workplace by doing a masters degree. Have many of your friends left Ireland? Every week I get a comprehensive break down of the local news from my parents and sisters. And with every week, they all have stories of young people in our area heading off to further climes; Britain, Australia, America, Canada, Europe and Asia. I always thought that the Irish got around, but they certainly seem to be going places at the moment!! How did you end up in London? Having accepted the offer of an internship with the Federation of 12

Irish Societies, a move to one of the world’s most dynamic cities was on the cards. After a month of sleeping on a spare mattress my friends had graciously offered to me in their already cramped flat in Paddington, I settled in the bustling East End of London, sampling all that London has to offer and haven’t looked back since.

What do you miss the most? Of course I miss home…leaving my family, friends and the country of my birth behind. Trips home are always very exciting for me. Yet, the experiences of the modern emigrant have vastly changed from the last wave of emigrants. The importance of Skype, Facebook and email in my life cannot be overestimated and I use applications like RTE News and the Journal to keep me up to date with news and current affairs at home. What does being Irish in Britain mean to you? Being Irish in Britain is something that I take pride from on a daily basis. I am personally very keen on the identity of the Irish diaspora here, and feel that my work with the Federation has only increased my desire to represent the best my country has to offer. It is important that the Irish recognise their wonderful contribution to British society. Our community is strong and I am proud to be part of the next generation strengthening our contribution and success in Britain.


INDIVIDUALS Are you living and working in Britain and interested in being part of a national Irish network?

Photo: Gavin Freeborn

The Federation of Irish Societies is delighted to announce that from March 2012 individuals can join our growing network across Britain.

All this for only £24 a year - £2 a month - the price of cup of tea!

If you are interested in getting connected to a vibrant and active national network and being the first to hear about what’s happening across the Irish community in Britain why not join today?

Joining is easy – pay either by monthly direct debit or an Annual one-off joining fee – it’s up to you!

You will receive: • Regular e-bulletins telling you about our work and the work of our members • Exclusive invites to events • The ‘Irish in Britain’ magazine - a fresh look at our thriving community delivered direct to your door 3 times a year

Online: Phone: 0208 833 1226 Email:

• •

Access to Irish-related promotions including discounted tickets, offers and more! Plus, by joining your contribution means we can continue our work to support the Irish community across Britain.

Interested? Find out more and join today:

Join online today: www.irishinbritain. org

Photo: Alex Coley


IRISH IN SPORT Irish boxer Matthew Macklin eyes St Patrick’s Day win

Matthew Macklin is in preparation for his Middleweight world title fight against Sergio Martinez The bout will take place at the iconic Madison Square Garden on St Patrick’s Day - a significant occasion for Macklin, who was born in Birmingham to Irish parents - his father being from Roscommon and his mother from Tipperary. At the age of 18 Macklin won the English Senior ABA Welterweight title and after leaving the amateur ranks to become professional in September 2001, Macklin won his first fight at the Bellahouston Sports Centre, Glasgow. Now with the Irish in Britain supporting him all the way his sights are focused on a St Patrick’s Day World title win in New York.

London Calling – Irish Paralympians focused on success In 2012 the eyes of the world will be on London for a stunning 6-week festival of sport covering the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Irish in Britain can play a huge part by supporting both teams in their quest for medals and we will have more 14

Cyclist: Colin Lynch

coverage on the Irish teams in our July edition. Liam Harbison CEO, Paralympics Ireland is confident that Irish Paralympians will be going the distance at London 2012. “The Irish Team is preparing well for the Paralympics and we are looking to excite and surprise many people by exceptional performances in London. We are on target to have a team of 40 athletes participating in a range of sports including: Archery, Athletics, Boccia, Cycling, Equestrian, Rowing, Sailing, Swimming and Table Tennis. The last 12 months has been particularly successful as athletes try to qualify. The Irish Team will travel to London with high hopes of achieving our target of 5 medals.” The team currently consists of a host of World Champions. Michael McKillop will compete in the 800m and 1500m races and Catherine O’Neill in Athletics. Mark Rohan will be participating in the Hand Cycling, Road Time Trial and Road Race events. Colin Lynch will be taking

part in the Cycling, Road Time Trial and Track, while Catherine Walsh and Fran Meehan will compete in the Tandem Cycling and Track. Jason Smyth, who is targeting the Olympic Games also, will be defending his Paralympic 100m and 200m titles. Undoubtedly, the pedigree in the Irish Team is clear for all to see and good luck to all the elite athletes in their preparation for the Games.

Ladies GAA sports flourish in Britain

With the influx of young emigrants to Britain Ladies Gaelic Athletic Clubs are seeing numbers increase as women seek out football and camogie teams in their local areas. One such club is Fr Murphy’s Ladies based in London. Formed in 1988, as a ladies football club it expanded in 1998 with the addition of camogie club.

Athletics: Michael McKillop

The club boasts a series of successes in their history which includes being the only club to win both senior football and camogie championships in the same year; repeating the feat in 2008; becoming the first team from Britain to win a game in the club championship in Ireland and reaching the finals and winning in both camogie and football at the Dubai 7’s. Backed by their new sponsor Clonakilty Blackpudding Company the football team started the season with an exhibition game at The Madejski Stadium and are now embarking on a trip to Kerry for the Páidí Ó Sé tournament. To find out more about the Ladies GAA scene in Britain join the facebook page: British Ladies GAA. A national website for Ladies GAA in Britain is currently being developed and we will bring more news on that once it is launched. Alternatively find out more about Fr Murphy’s team by visiting




0844 249 1871 LONDON-IRISH.COM


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Hello. We’re feeling inspired. Actually, we’re feeling very inspired and its you that has us that way. Its all the arty, cultural and the sporty things that you have been getting up to. Its all those songs you’ve been singing, the getting up at 6am for your team, the performances you’ve been watching and all the different ways you’ve ben expressing a passion for Irish culture in Britain. And now we want to celebrate. Curious? Sign up online to be the first to hear about events, news and updates from the Ireland Inspires team!

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Irish in Britain - Issue 1  

Community - Culture - Sport - Business

Irish in Britain - Issue 1  

Community - Culture - Sport - Business