The Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Joe McHugh TD, is taking part in a two-day visit to Manchester and Liverpool, in the course of which he will meet with Irish community groups in both cities.
This afternoon, Minister McHugh met with the Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, and expressed his condolences and solidarity following last week’s terrorist attack at the Manchester Arena, which claimed 22 lives. The Minister also met with the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor Eddy Newman, and signed the book of condolences at Manchester Town Hall.
Speaking after his meeting with Mayor Burnham, Minister McHugh said: “I had planned this visit for some time but I was all the more determined to come following last week’s terrible atrocity. I think it is even more important to meet with our community and support the long-standing links between Ireland and Manchester at this very emotional time for all here.
“Last week’s terror attack was an attack on us all and I was honoured to convey, through Mayor Burnham and Lord Mayor Newman, and on behalf of the people of Ireland, condolences to the families of the 22 victims and best wishes to all of those who were injured, as well as to the people of Manchester.
“This was a horrific attack but the response of the people of Manchester demonstrated the best of humanity in the most trying of circumstances. I know that I speak for the people of Ireland when I say that I was inspired by the reaction of the people of Manchester to the attack.”
Speaking more generally about his visit, Minister McHugh said: “Ireland’s links with both Manchester and Liverpool remain very strong. We should never – and we don’t – under-estimate the important role that Irish community organisations, from welfare groups to local GAA clubs, play in supporting their local Irish communities. The Government, through the Emigrant Support Programme, administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade, continues to provide financial support for this important work.”
This evening, Minister McHugh will visit the Irish World Heritage Centre where he will have an opportunity to meet members of the Manchester Irish community.
The Minister will visit Liverpool tomorrow where he will meet the Vice Chancellor of University of Liverpool, have breakfast with local Irish business contacts, visit the Irish Institute at University of Liverpool, have lunch with Irish elders at the Liverpool Irish and call on Irish community Care, the Irish welfare organisation in the Liverpool region.
Ahead of the Liverpool leg of his visit, Minister McHugh said: “I am delighted to have the chance to visit the vibrant Irish community in Liverpool, a city that has always been seen almost as another part of Ireland by many Irish.”
“The re-launch of this wonderful facility on the Wild Atlantic Way allows the richness of the music and culture...