The Irish Liberal Democrat Society AGM 2020

From a small group that gathered in Bournemouth at Conference in September 2019, I am delighted to say that in a year on marked with a pandemic and all the troubles that this has brought, the first AGM of a new Irish caucus within the Liberal Democrats will be next Monday, 7th December 2020 at 7pm.

We have two very special guest speakers joining us – Stephen Farry MP from the Alliance Party to speak on his work in Parliament over the last year, and Gerald Angley, Irish Deputy Ambassador to the UK. We look forward to hearing from them both.

As a new entity, we are working towards formal status within the Liberal Democrats, and as such, one of our main housekeeping goals has been to develop a new constitution for the Society and we will be presenting that work at the AGM next Monday.

Our goal is to create a voice for the Irish community within the Liberal Democrats as a whole. We have high ambitions but like most things, it is dependent on resources both in terms of money and time. However, from small acorns mighty acorns grow.

Since the referendum in 2016, Ireland has seen an unprecedented demand for Irish passports from Britain. In the 2011 Census, more than 430,300 people living in Britain identified themselves as Irish-born, down 37 per cent from the peak of 683,000 in 1961. In 2018, the Annual Population Survey by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) put the numbers of Irish-born people here at just 380,000. Since 2016, almost 100,000 first-time applications for Irish passports were received from people born in Northern Ireland, England, Scotland, and Wales. That’s the current big picture. Our mission is to help the Liberal Democrats reach out to this community.

The Society is not just for people born on the island of Ireland. It is for those that share a common interest in all things Irish politically as much as culturally. Pre-Covid we would have met at Conference and exchanged tales of families and backgrounds. We want these conversations to continue as we look forward to 2021. Everyone has a story. The Irish Community in Britain is a story of immigration. But it is also a story of success for many. Since joining the Lib Dems back in 2015, I have met many Irish members or members with Irish family all wanting to celebrate their roots. Many things interest us and many experiences define us but what we have in common is that shared identity of being Irish.

So please, if you are interested, join us next Monday at 7pm for our first AGM where we can nurture and grow those small acorns together. Register HERE.

* Audrey Eager, Founder of Liberal Irish, the Irish Liberal Democrat Society. If you’d like to join our mailing list, contact us on [email protected]

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9 Comments

  • As a resident of Scotland, I’d like to know whether you would prefer Ireland to continue as a sovereign state within the EU, or to return to the UK with a form of devolution akin to that in place in Scotland ?

  • I don’t think there are many in the Republic who want to leave the EU. Biden’s victory is especially welcome when it comes to keeping the border open.

  • Jenny Barnes 4th Dec '20 - 7:25am

    I’m looking forward to applauding the mighty acorn.

  • John Marriott 4th Dec '20 - 9:33am

    @David Raw
    You know, David, I reckon that if we had been more canny after the 1916 Easter Uprising and not come down so harshly on the ‘conspirators’, we might now have an Ireland not dissimilar to what you have in Scotland. Whether it was one ‘Ireland’ or two would have depended largely on how we had dealt with Sir Edward Carson and his Merrie Men in the north. Perhaps, however, the biggest hurdle to overcome would have been the desire for republicanism in the south, which was nurtured during the ‘Free State’ period after 1921.

    As for a Lib Dem ‘Irish branch’, I assume that they aren’t thinking of setting down roots across the Irish Sea. Come to think of it, I’m not really sure what they are trying to achieve; but, if it makes them happy, who am I, as a now non party member, to object? What it might show is that, for all the bluster, we English on the mainline have a lot more in common with the folks on the Emerald Isle than we care to admit – and that goes for the Scots and the Welsh too. After all, my great great grandmother on my mother’s side was born in County Tipperary and my father in law grew up in Alloa, Clackmannanshire!

  • Angela Harris 4th Dec '20 - 10:03am

    What a great idea! I “host” the CHAMP reception in the House of Lords for St. Patrick’s Day – and we definitely need more LibDems there! I sometimes speak on NI matters in the House of Lords (Alison Suttie is our spokesperson) and it would be great to encourage more participation in all Irish matters.

  • @ John Marriott Completely agree, John. Poor old distracted Asquith put the brake on the executions far too late – allowing the creation of martyrs – and then LLG made things even worse by pushing for conscription in Ireland.

    The outcome in Scotland was a massive shift towards Labour of the large second generation Irish vote away from the Liberals in Scotland…. and the loss of the Irish parliamentary party took away any possibility of a Liberal majority in 1923. If you’re so minded try the article below :

    The Liberal Party and the Irish Question during the First World War
    John M. McEwen
    Journal of British Studies
    Vol. 12, No. 1 (Nov., 1972), pp. 109-131 (23 pages)
    Published By: Cambridge University Press

  • @ Angie Harris Blimey, Richmond is nearly forty years ago. Stay safe, have a good Christmas and good to know you’re still beavering away.

  • John Marriott 4th Dec '20 - 1:42pm

    @David Raw
    Crickey, mate, not MORE books from my tutor! I’ve only just finished Dutton and am currently enjoying – yes, enjoying – Sasha Swire’s diaries, which are more revealing in many ways about the coalition years than Cameron or Laws.

  • It’s nobbut 23 pages, young John. Sitha, get thi’ boits on.

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