A LEADING Irish charity has received an award from the Labour Party Irish Society for their work with the 'forgotten Irish'.
Console, a suicide prevention and bereavement service, was presented with the first Gerry Ryan Community Award for its services to mental health at the annual LPIS St Patrick’s Day reception in Westminster this week.
The charity is heavily involved with the 'forgotten' Irish community in Britain - those who feel disconnected and isolated - providing them with counselling services.
Presented by Liz Kendall, the Labour MP for Leicester West, the award was renamed this year in honour of the late Gerry Ryan - a Labour politician who lost his battle with cancer in January.
During the event Console CEO and founder Paul Kelly thanked the LPIS for the award and commended his staff for their hard work in promoting mental health issues across Britain and Ireland.
“I am deeply moved and it is wonderful to see an Irish organisation, which has only been in the UK for 18 months, receive such recognition,” he said.
Console operates two centres in central London, providing free counselling and support for people at risk of suicide and any individual, couples, families or children who have been affected by it.
The House of Commons room was packed with familiar faces from across the Irish community and its supporters in Britain for the LPIS gathering, including Pat McFadden MP, Lord Alf Dubs and Ireland’s Ambassador to Britain Dan Mulhall.
Ambassador Mulhall took the opportunity to reiterate Ireland’s support for Britain remaining in the European Union.
He urged the Labour politicians in the room to use the impending general election as an opportunity to reinforce Ireland's stance against the possible 'Brexit', with David Cameron promising a referendum on Britain’s EU membership by 2017, if he is still in government.
“We like the contribution Britain makes in the EU,” he said. “We are staying in the EU come what may and we want our nearest neighbours and close friends to stay there with us.”