A LEADING figure among the Irish community in London has urged people to keep St Patrick’s Day alive in the capital following a reduced turnout at this year’s celebrations.
Jacqueline O'Donovan, Managing Director of O'Donovan Waste, a second generation Irishwoman, whose parents hail from Co. Cork, is heavily involved in the annual celebrations in the capital.
Ms O’Donovan is the Chair of the St Patrick’s Festival Ball Committee and her firm, founded in London by her late father Joe O’Donovan in 1959, are proud sponsors of a special full Irish breakfast event which kicks off the morning of the Mayor of London’s St Patrick’s Parade at Bentley’s of Mayfair each year.
This week, as the dust settled on another successful event in London, Ms O’Donovan urged the Irish community in London to continue to support the celebrations in the capital.
“It was great to again be involved with the Saint Patrick’s celebrations,” she said.
“The festival in London is a huge part of the London Irish culture and everyone works hard to make sure it is a success,” she added, “but we really need the London Irish community and businesses to support it more going forward.”
She explained: “For the weekend of celebrations to be an ongoing success, we need everyone to support the ball and for people to attend the parade.
“We need to encourage floats from all 32 counties, demonstrating how strong the Irish community is by proudly fly the flag of Ireland here in Britain.”
The parade itself “whilst a good turnout, was down on years prior to the pandemic”, Ms O’Donovan added.
The 2023 event marked its 20th year in London and featured an afternoon of free entertainment with music from Sharon Shannon & Band, The Craicheads, Celtic Youth Orchestra and Biblecode Sundays.
Ireland's Minister for Protection Heather Humphreys joined Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Ireland's Ambassador to Britain Martin Fraser to lead the parade as it weaved its way through the city's streets yesterday afternoon, flanked by thousands of spectators who came out to celebrate.
Heading up the parade as Grand Marshall was London-based Cork native Catherina Casey, a life coach who is due to receive the Freedom of the City of London next month.