SERTUC Race Relations Committee: Migration of Labour - History of Irish Immigrants to Britain

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Date and time of event: 
Sat 13 May 2017 - 13:00 to 16:30
Venue and town/city: 
TUC Congress House, 23-28 Great Russell Street, London
About this event: 

This event is hosted by the SERTUC Race Relations Committee in tribute to all the Migrant Workers.  

The theme of the event is to start the concept of a history month of the Irish immigrants to Britain of the last few centuries. Through their mass concentration of migrant labour, they managed to make Britain the most industrialised nation in the world.

This date will be the day before the anniversary of “An Gorta mor” (Great Hunger) between 1845 and 1852 that killed over one million Irish people and forced at least another million and a half to emigrate. In reference to those who immigrated to London, a number died in the poverty-stricken Parish of St. Giles known as the first recorded “Little Ireland!” Many Irish people lived in this part of London for nearly two centuries through squalor and a number died of typhus. Today, this parish is prosperous and includes the great buildings of TUC Congress House and the British Museum. Such prosperity is owed to the Irish Migrant workers who built much of London. This event is a lesson from history in the way we should welcome all migrant workers, today, at a time of the re – emerging racism fuelled by the “Brexit” referendum.

Guest Speakers include:

Austin Harney, Joint SERTUC Race Relations Secretary - history of Irish migrant labour in Britain as well as its impact on the British Trade Union movement and the political transformation.

Dr. Sonja Tiernan, Liverpool Hope University - history of Eva Gore Booth, sister of Countess Markievicsz. Eva was involved with Esther Roper, Manchester trade unionists between the late nineteenth century and the earlier twentieth century that set up trade unions for women workers as well as campaigning, successfully, against the legal ban on women working in bars. Both were, also, suffragists.

Phien O’Reachtigan - history of the Parvee Community (Irish Travellers) in Britain.

It must not be forgotten that 2017 will be 150 years since the Manchester Martyrs were executed and explosion of Clerkenwell Prison in London. The latter incident had a devastating impact on the Irish community in Britain. It delayed Ireland’s movement for Home Rule and, eventually, independence. Anti – Irish racism became rampant in Britain and the derogatory term “Mick” was, constantly, used along with the anti – Irish racist phrase, “Taking the Mick!” 2017 is a golden opportunity to build bridges between the Irish community groups in London and Manchester!

Please support and encourage others to attend this event and future SERTUC Irish History Month events – THANK YOU

Information about the venue: 

Congress House is a fully accessible building. 

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