Sinn Fein MPs to join St Patrick’s diaspora celebrations
Senior Sinn Fein MPs and Oireachtas representatives will be traveling to cities across Britain over the coming week to join a range of St Patrick’s events.
On 16 March Sinn Fein Senator Trevor O'Clochartaigh will join the Manchester St Patrick’s Parade, whilst Mid-Ulster MP Francie Molloy will be in London at the capital’s parade and festival, and the Westminster All-Party Irish in Britain cross-party MPs’ group reception.
Francie Molloy will also be in Nottingham on the 17th to lead the St Patrick's parade in the city as special guest.
On 19 March Paul Maskey MP will be in London for the Annual Irish Embassy event, at the invitation of the Ambassador.
Earlier this week, Sinn Fein TD Padraig Mac Lochlainn joined the `Champ’ cross-party St Patrick's event in the House of Commons, which was addressed by the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, British Secretary of State Theresa Villiers and Labour leader Ed Miliband.
Speaking in advance of his visit, Francie Molloy MP said:
"I am delighted to be joining St Patrick's events in London and Nottingham this week. We believe it is important for us to join these St Patrick’s celebrations, and to recognise the vital role of the diaspora in building the social, economic and cultural life in all of these cities.
"It is particularly timely that we are here in a week when Sinn Fein launched it's proposals for the diaspora, which aim to to create greater political rights and representation, which have been denied for too long.
"Earlier this week, our leader Gerry Adams outlined seven key proposals to improve the relationship between Ireland [the state] and Irish citizens overseas, as part Sinn Féin's Constitutional Amendment Bill 2014. The Bill seeks to amend the Constitution to allow the voting age be lowered to 16 and to introduce votes in Presidential elections for citizens in the north and for the Irish diaspora, as recommended by the Constitutional Convention.
"Sinn Fein are committed to real, participatory democracy, based on equality and inclusivity. We believe that extending voting rights to the diaspora would be an important recognition that Irish people overseas are part of the Irish nation.
"We are also calling for the creation of a new Minister of State for the Irish Overseas and Irish Diaspora which would provide permanent representation for those forced to leave our shores, in particular in the wake of the current austerity measures, and to work with existing Irish community groups, helping to improve the relationship between Ireland and its diaspora."
Mr Molloy also added:
"It is also important that the British Government also measure up to its responsibilities in relation to the peace process, something of strong concern to the Irish community in the ongoing failure of the British government to get behind the Haass proposals, or to positively engage with the peace process is not acceptable.
"At a time of celebrations around St Patrick’s Day, we need to remember all of the progress that has been made, and ensure it continues to go forward. I look forward to a successful St Patrick's week of events and engaging with friends and colleagues across a range of organisations over the coming days."