Tuesday, 22 March 2011 10:56
An outpouring of Irishness worldwide over the past week has helped put this country back on the international map.
The scaled down government exodus to foreign parts for St. Patrick's Day celebrations is necessary despite our current financial difficulties.
It is important we take every opportunity to sell Ireland as a place in which to invest and set up business.
Likewise, we must ensure our politicians do not forget the plight of those who were forced and are still leaving our shores in search of employment.
The attendance of Ministers at parades overseas shows the Irish Diaspora has not been forgotten.
County associations have been established in all major cities abroad and are undertaking great work for their members.
I attended the St. Patrick's Day parade in Leeds where there is a huge Mayo influence and were very prominent in the parade.
The Lord Mayor of the city, Councillor James McKenna, of Dublin extraction, and the Lady Mayoress, Councillor Andrea McKenna, addressed the hundreds who gathered in Millennium Square after the parade. The couple were recently in Mayo as guests of Mayo Rehab.
His message to the gathering was to 'tick the Irish box' in the pending UK census.
Those of Irish extraction can do so as it will enable the authorities establish the exact extent of the Irish population in Britain.
It will also ensure a proper level of funding that will be forthcoming from local councils to Irish community groups.
Earlier we attended the St. Patrick's Day parade launch in the city's thriving Irish Centre, which is run by Mayoman Tom McLoughlan.
In attendance was the Deputy Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Patrick Davey and a large attendance in both the bar and ballroom.
What was very encouraging were the numbers of young people who joined in the celebrations, both in the centre and the parade, ensuring there will be continuation of Irish traditions in the city.
Remembering James Daly
Today marks the 100th anniversary of the death of former Connaught Telegraph editor and land league agitator, James Daly
Once described as 'the most undeservedly forgotten man in Irish history', Daly used the pages of The Connaught Telegraph, of which he was editor from 1876 to 1888, to enthusiastically supported land reform, a task he undertook with Michael Davitt.
To mark the anniversary a wreath laying and tree planting ceremony will take place this (Tuesday) evening at the old cemetery in Castlebar, assembling at the Mayo Peace Park at 5.30 p.m.
The public are invited to attend and participate in the occasion.