LONDON MAYOR Sadiq Khan has sent a clear message of support to London’s Irish contingent ahead of another week of crucial Brexit voting.
Speaking exclusively to The Irish Post at the London St Patrick’s Day Festival in Trafalgar Square, Mr. Khan said London would continue to be an “open-minded” and “outward-looking” city regardless of what the future brings.
“One of the things that I’m worried about is an impression that could be created that because of the Brexit votes we’re going to stop being open-minded, outward-looking and pluralistic,” he said.
“That’s not the case. We’re going to carry on being open-minded, outward-looking and pluralistic. You are very much still welcome here.
“The colour of your passport and the colours of your flag does not affect our response to you. We welcome you. We value the contribution you make.
“The three words that I have been saying again and again and again are ‘London is open’. London is open to our Irish friends, London is open to talent and London is open to the contribution that the Irish community has made and will carry on making.”
"We need to adopt the can-do attitude Ireland has"
Mr. Khan, who spoke on stage at the event, also feels the UK could learn something from Ireland.
“For me it [being Irish] means being optimistic, being upbeat. The sense of can-do attitude. The sense of inclusiveness,” he said.
“We have to realise, as a country, that if we do leave the EU, we’re a country of around 65 million people and we need to adopt the can-do attitude Ireland has if we are going to be a success.
“Be optimistic, Glass half-full. Be outward looking. People talk about the luck of the Irish but I’ve always believed you make your own luck. We as a country need to start making our own luck. So, we can learn a lot from our Irish friends.”
“Look at the influence Ireland has around the world. You’ve seen the St Patrick’s Day celebrations taking place everywhere,” he added.
Today Londoners from across our city came together at @StPatsDayLDN in Trafalgar Square.
Thank you to everyone who joined us to celebrate London's Irish community and culture - and send a message to the world that #LondonIsOpen 🇮🇪pic.twitter.com/S5XAfC0kFv
— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) March 17, 2019
"London is still going to carry on celebrating St Patrick’s Day"
Above all else, Mr. Khan was eager to pay tribute to Ireland’s ongoing contribution to the success of London as a city and the UK as a whole.
“One of the reasons I enjoy reading the Irish Post is that you celebrate success and one of the things we have got to do is tell a better story about all the successes there are in London and this country as a direct result of the Irish contribution.
“It’s really important we recognise one of the reasons London is one of the greatest cities in the world is the contribution of successive generations of Irish men and women.”
“If it is the case and we leave the EU, London is still going to carry on celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.”
Over many generations, London's Irish community have made our city a livelier, warmer and more vibrant place to live.
— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) 17 March 2019