Liberal Irish – the new Liberal Democrat Irish Society

Party President Sal Brinton with (L to R) Richard Logue, Audrey Eager and Conrad Bryan

We weren’t sure what to expect on Monday morning when we picked up 500 flyers for our launch event. We weren’t inside the conference building, we weren’t on the conference timetable and we certainly weren’t on the conference app. What we did have was enthusiasm and determination to get the message out to conference that we were there and would welcome anyone who wanted to know what we are about and what we intend to do.

We were delighted to secure the Irish Ambassador to the UK, Adrian O’Neill as our guest speaker. The Irish Ambassador and his team make the point of attending all the major party conferences so we took the opportunity to book him.

We booked space in Bar So at the Royal Exeter Hotel, a regular haunt for Conference attendees and shamelessly door-stepped everyone going in and out of conference inviting everyone from MPs, Peers, MEPs and members.

Baroness Dee Doocey has very kindly agreed to be our Honorary President hailing from Dublin herself originally. We were delighted to meet with Party President, Sal Brinton who encouraged us and was very supportive of our aims. We also spoke with Baroness Sarah Ludford who was in attendance at the reception along with Nick Harvey, Chief Executive of the Lib Dems.

And what a turnout at the reception it was!

We estimate that over 100 people attended and thanks to the hard work done by Paul O’Neill who we persuaded to capture the vital contact details and email addresses, we have a mailing list to start spreading our message. An excellent start.

Whatever your connection to Ireland, we are the place for any Liberal Democrats who are interested in Ireland, Northern Ireland or Irish community issues in Britain. It doesn’t matter if you are first generation Irish or second or third. You don’t even need to be Irish, just have an interest in Irish and Northern Irish affairs. Our aims are;

  • to be the link between the Liberal Democrats and the Irish community in Britain. We will be encouraging and helping Irish people living in Britain to stand for the Party.
  • to be a networking link for all Irish and Irish descent people living in Britain who are interested in and support Liberal Democrat policies and values.
  • formal official status as a Liberal Democrat party organisation at Federal Spring Conference 2020.

We will be holding regular events across Britain and wish to establish local chapters in major cities with significant Irish populations like London, Glasgow, Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester. While we are in the early stages of getting organised, you can contact us via our Twitter account – @LiberalIrish

Our key people are myself, Conrad Bryan and Audrey Eager. I’m a Barnet Lib Dem activist and former local election candidate. I joined in 2016 and am currently campaigns lead for Barnet. I am also an ambassador for the charity Co-operation Ireland. Conrad is based in Ealing and is a trustee of the Irish in Britain charity. He is also a campaigner for Irish diaspora voting rights and for social justice for people who have been through the Irish institutional care system. He has also worked with the Mixed Race Irish community group. Audrey Eager works at Lib Dem HQ as General Election planner and is from Dublin where she was a Fianna Fáil activist for many years, working at the highest levels in the party. Audrey ran as a local election candidate in Lambeth in 2018.

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9 Comments

  • nigel hunter 20th Sep '19 - 9:55am

    Are you going to be involved one way or the other with the Alliance in NI as they are also Irish?

  • Richard Logue 20th Sep '19 - 12:58pm

    Very much so, the Alliance Party are our sister party in Northern Ireland.

  • Please register me as an interested contact. I am an eighth Irish on my Mum’s side.

  • Stephen Harte 20th Sep '19 - 7:40pm

    I’ve been discovering my Irish routes since the Brexit referendum – I’ve got my passport based in a grandfather who died 10 years before I was born. I never bonded with it when I was younger as (growing up in the 1980s) I associated it with (some) pupils in my state Catholic school showing their youthful rebellion by supporting the IRA. I never could and never will.

    One challenge as a Liberal…..I always associate FF with the bad days of Charles Haughey and Garrett Fitzgerald of FG always looked better from what a politics obsessed teenager could tell from the distance. I’m impressed too by Leo. FF is only a relatively recent member if the European liberal grouping (they used to sit with the French Gaullists and the SNP!).

    It’s always hard to judge the politics of another country (even one whose passport I carry) but I suspect I’d be more likely to vote FG than FF if I ever ended up taking refugee status from Brexit Britain. How do folk feel Irish politics translates into the UK?

  • Denis Loretto 21st Sep '19 - 8:33am

    I signed up at the Bournemouth meeting. As a founder member of the Alliance Party in Belfast in 1970 I am particularly glad that the new grouping is open to Lib Dem members from any part of the island – just like our great rugby team looking for success in Japan.

  • I think that FG and FF differences in Ireland had more to do with the sides they took in the civil war – the troubles

  • Trevor Peel 21st Sep '19 - 9:47am

    Great news about the newly formed “Liberal Irish – the new Liberal Democrat Irish Society”.
    The National Liberal Club European Forum are taking a delegation to Ireland ( Belfast & Dublin) in November to help deepen understanding between all part of these islands particularly at this time of Brexit.
    Congratulations to Richard Logue, Conrad Bryan and Audrey Eager on this superb initiative.

  • Maurice Hickman 21st Sep '19 - 11:10am

    I am very interested in joining the Lib Dem Irish Society. I am 25% Irish.

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