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St Patricks Day - remember the vulnerable

13 March, 2007

Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson has called for people locally to think of the disenfranchised and vulnerable Irish diaspora on St Patrick's Day.

Ms Anderson said:

"As Irish people all over the world will be looking forward to the St Patrick's Day celebrations, and for many it is a very joyous occasion, I would ask everyone to think of the much forgotten Irish who left these shores particularly between 1950 - 60 in search of work and a new future.

"Many of these people ended up doing hard work for little pay in places as far away as the USA and Australia, but the vast majority settled in the major cities in England.

"Now in 2007 many of our fellow country men and women find themselves living in appalling conditions, suffering from severe ill health, with no family back up or support, in a fast moving world far detached from the Ireland they left behind.

"This is a generation who deserve respect for what they have done for Ireland, more than £3.5 billion was sent home to this country by emigrants working in the factories, the hospitals and on the building sites in England.

"Its ironic that today another new generation of Irish emigrants face an uncertain future in the USA which could have far reaching effects for up to 50,000 Irish people who have been living there for anything up to ten , fifteen years and have made a new life for themselves .This must be causing them and their families allot of anxiety but hopefully the US administration will see sense and let these people settle in America.

"I would ask the people of Derry and Donegal to support the many charities out there doing tireless work for the Irish abroad and keep the vital link with their homeland alive.

"I would also call for people to embrace the growing immigrant population in Ireland into the St Patrick's Days celebration and allow them to feel what is a special day for the Irish." ENDS

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