THE Irish Ambassador to Britain has praised the community’s “special and unique sense of identity” ahead of the many St Patrick’s Day festivities that will begin across the country over the coming weekend.
Ambassador Martin Fraser, who took up his role last summer, will enjoy his first St Patrick’s Day in his British-based role this month.
Among the many occasion that will take place celebrating Ireland’s national day, one of the first is the Mayor of London’s St Patrick’s Festival and Parade which takes place this weekend.
The Ambassador issued a special message ahead of the festival for Irish Post readers and members of the Irish community in Britain at large.
“Together with all the staff in the Embassy, my wife Deirdre and I would like to extend our warmest wishes to the Irish community and friends of Ireland in Britain for a happy St. Patrick’s Day and a wonderful festival,” he said.
“The complex layers of identity of those born here to immigrant parents and raised amongst the Irish community are also celebrated in the annual St Patrick’s Festival in London.
“The scenes of people celebrating together on the streets of London is an embodiment of the community’s enduring presence in this city and I would like to thank Mayor Sadiq Khan and his team at City Hall for continually supporting the expression of the London-Irish community through this multi-day event, now in its 20th year, which has become an unmissable part of the city’s cultural calendar.”
He added: “St Patrick’s Day is an opportunity for the Irish people, wherever they may be, to celebrate the music, culture and heritage that connect us all.
“It is a special time for the Irish diaspora all over the world, and nowhere more so than here in Britain.”
He explained: “The Irish community in Britain have a very special and unique sense of identity, built over generations of Irish people coming here to live, work, travel and study.
“British-Irish relations are always strongest among the ties of family and friendship that bind people across these islands.”
The Ambassador went on to note that 2023 marks another important milestone in British-Irish relations, with the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement falling next month.
“The Northern Ireland Peace Process is an achievement of both countries, and a testament to the success of hard-work, compromise and a mutual understanding of the need to end the violence of The Troubles,” he said.
“This anniversary is an opportunity to celebrate what was an historic moment for everyone on these islands, bringing peace and transforming relationships.
“We cannot and do not take that achievement for granted, and we know we must continue to work closely together to realise and safeguard the promise of peace.”
But with St Patrick’s Day to celebrate before that anniversary falls, and parades taking place in the likes of London, Birmingham, Manchester and Warrington this weekend, Mr Fraser added: “We hope that wherever you are in Britain, you enjoy the festivities and have a happy St Patrick’s Day.
Beannachtaí na féile Pádraig oraibh go léir.”