One of the major questions thrown up during Refounding Labour was how do political parties retain a sense of relevance to diverse communities in the modern world. With traditional voter allegiances less secure and class based voting on the wain, political parties need solid connections into real communities. For Labour, some of our best Socialist Societies help provide that link and the Labour Party Irish Society is a great example, we provide a direct connection between the Labour Party and the Irish in Britain.
I’m very proud of everything we’ve achieved in recent months in the Labour Party Irish Society, so this St Patrick’s Day will be a time to celebrate our heritage and look to what we can continue to deliver for the Irish in Britain. This year’s St Patrick’s Day reception was addressed by Ed Miliband and the Irish Minister for Trade Jo Costello TD, recognising both the contribution that the Irish make to Britain as well as the contribution the Labour Party has made to peace in Northern Ireland and relations with the Republic of Ireland.
Since last year’s St Patrick’s Day reception, we’ve the Irish Labour Party mark one year into Government in the Republic of Ireland, a long standing friend to the Labour Party Irish Society Michael D Higgins elected as President and our former Chair’s Sally Mulready elevation to the Irish Council of State and Conor McGinn elected to Labour’s NEC.
But the key factor in the success of a political organisation goes far beyond political positions and gets to the heart of the issues facing the community it seeks to serve. That’s why at our St Patrick’s Day reception was attended Irish community organisations who do so much to care for the vulnerable Irish. It is our connection to those groups and individuals that keep us relevant and informed on the needs of the community we represent in the Labour Party.
So societies like the Labour Party Irish Society help to generate a real connection between a political party and a community and will be essential to the renewal of the Labour Party as a party that is in touch with the needs, concerns and aspirations of the Irish in Britain. Societies like the Labour Irish Society help to integrate their communities into Britain and into the Labour Party and in turn, Labour becomes a stronger and more representative political party, closer in tune to the needs of the communities we serve.
So if you’re a Labour supporter with a connection, interest or passion for Ireland, join the Labour Party Irish Society, an affiliated Socialist Society of the Labour Party. Membership costs £10 or £6 reduced rate, don’t miss out on your chance to get an invite to the best St Patrick’s Day event this side of the Irish Sea!
Beannachtaí Lá Fhéile Phádraig daoibh go léir and please join us at LPIS.org.uk
Brian Duggan is the Chair of the Labour Party Irish Society