Foundation in St Patricks day appeal to Irish in Britain Parliament gathering

March 18, 2014 | Nick Taylor

This evening, Monday 17th March 2014, the Foundation for Peace addressed a special St Patricks meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on the Irish in Britain.

The group aims to raise awareness and represent within Parliament the interests and concerns of the Irish Community in Britain and is chaired by Chris Ruane. The charity, Irish in Britain, provides the secretariat.

Speakers on the night included: Sir Peter Bottomley MP (APPG Vice Chair), Theresa Villiers MP Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Dan Mullhall Ambassador of Ireland, Stephen Pound MP opposition spokesperson and shadow Northern Ireland Minister, Stephen Lloyd MP Liberal Democrat spokesperson on Northern Ireland, Jennie McShannon CEO Irish in Britain and Mary Tilki chair of Irish in Britain.

Nick Taylor, Chief Executive, was invited to address the 300 strong audience and to make the case for the Foundations’ leading work supporting victims and survivors and those affected by violent conflict.

Nick’s speech is reproduced below:

Good evening. My name is Nick Taylor and I am the Chief Executive of the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace in Warrington, Cheshire.

Yesterday, Warrington celebrated with its traditional St Patricks Day parade that ends at a place called Bridge Street. Twenty one years ago this coming Thursday, 20th March, is the anniversary of the Warrington bombing – and each year the Irish community join together with people from across Warrington to remember those who died, were injured or affected.

When the IRA visited the streets of Warrington, the community were shocked and angered, and the Irish community felt vulnerable – but in the days and years that followed the whole town joined together in a sense of reconciliation and enterprise, and to this day Warrington stands as a beacon for one word – peace.

So, on St Patrick’s day 2014, I bring you the greetings of the people of Warrington and also to share with the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Irish in Britain one way that we can continue to create a lasting peace on our islands.

The last year has seen great strides towards dealing with the past, not least with the efforts of the Northern Ireland Panel of Executives facilitated by Richard Haass and Megan O’Sullivan. What some of you may not know is that 17% of those who died as a result of the Troubles’, over 2000 injured and many more, including an estimated 350,000 service personnel who served in Northern Ireland, are from Great Britain. And yet, funding for organisations who are at the front line of dealing with the past, whether that be European Union or national funding, is confined to those who are geographically based in Northern Ireland and certain border counties in the Republic of Ireland. Jurisdictional boundaries are creating a policy and political impasse that is threatening the existence of the vital assistance my organisation provides. Like the Irish people who live all over this globe and will today be joined in celebration of their culture, the legacy of the Troubles is not constrained by geography.

To create a lasting peace across our nations, we need to deal with the past in Northern Ireland, in the Republic of Ireland and yes in England, Scotland and Wales as well.

So, on St Patricks Day 2014, the one way you can help as politicians is to join with the Foundation for Peace to recognise that there is not just a north south axis to peace, but also an east west dimension. And. that the APPG helps solve this impasse by encouraging the European Union PEACE settlement; and funding provided by the Northern Ireland Executive and the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs Reconciliation Fund be opened up. This will allow my organisation and the leading work coming out of Warrington to continue to address the legacy of the Troubles for victims and survivors and those affected here in Great Britain.

Thank you for listening

For more information on the APPG Irish in Britain click here

Contact: Mr. Chris Ruane MP, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA

Telephone – 020 7219 6378