Cllr Troy Gallagher, Islington Labour Councillor for Bunhill Ward, blogs about his recent visit to an Irish civil rights event in New York on St Patrick’s Day
There are more Irish living outside Ireland than in it. St Patrick’s Day is therefore an opportunity for us to remind the world that Ireland is an immigrant nation. This message has never been more relevant than today, with the suspicion of the outsider at the core of both Trump’s victory and, to an extent, Brexit.
This St Patrick’s Day, I had the pleasure of being invited in my capacity as Chair of the London Irish Councillors Network to the ‘Irish Stand’ civil rights event in New York. This was an opportunity to stand in solidarity with our Irish American family to protest against President Trump’s immigration ban, which affects all emigrant communities.
Speaking at the event were people from all nationalities and religious backgrounds who have contributed to American communities and helped to shape modern society. Regrettably, this seems to be rapidly changing, with freedoms being eradicated. I met inspiring representatives from the Democratic Party including Max Kennedy, son of Robert F Kennedy and Irish politicians, along with Irish playwrights and poets.
The event was also a call to arms, urging everyone to speak out against injustice. We cannot stand idly by and allow immigrant communities to be persecuted. If we allow it to happen to others, it will continue and eventually affect those closest to us.
Trump’s discriminatory immigration ban is wrong in every way. The Irish community know better than most what it is like to be persecuted and forced to emigrate. That is why it is right that Irish communities around the world stand shoulder to shoulder with our fellow brothers and sisters, regardless of race, creed, gender or sexuality, to rally against Trump’s terrible anti-immigration policies and say “not in our name”.
I am proud of the role our Irish representatives have played in speaking up for immigrant communities and condemning the Trump regime. Just like my own party, they are standing together for justice, equality and dignity.
I am also proud to call Islington, a diverse and tolerant borough which is home to people from backgrounds across the world, including Irish, my home.
You can watch the inspiring event, which includes speeches and poetry, here:
Pictured - Cllr Troy Gallagher, Islington Labour Councillor for Bunhill Ward