Arriving more than 150 years ago to escape the famine, they became a key piece for British industrialisation. On 13 May, in London, a meeting will highlight the importance of these immigrants to the United Kingdom.
The 7 years which separate 1845 from 1852 have a great significance for the Irish. It was during this period that An Gorta Mor, the great Irish famine, took over.
It is calculated that more than 1 million people died as a result of this, whilst an additional 1.5 million people were forced to emigrate. A great number of them arrived in London and settled down in St. Giles, an area which soon after became known as little Ireland. Many of them, afflicted by Typhus, were also faced with death in the area. Many of them would also face their death on this site, afflicted by Typhus.
150 years have passed and today this same neighbourhood has changed its face. The British Museum, for example, can be found in its streets, and so is the Congress Centre of the TUC, where a meeting to remember Irish migration to England will take place on 13 May.
It was partly thanks to this workforce coming from Ireland that the UK became the most industrialised nation on the planet. The Irish labour force was responsible for the construction of vast kilometres of canals, roads and railways that now connect different parts of the country.
The meeting, organised by the Race Relations Committee of SERTUC, will last for three hours, before moving on to cocktails and possibly live music.
Phen Phien O’Reachtigan of the Parvee Community (Irish Travelers) in Great Britain, and Sonja Tieran of the University of Liverpool will participate in the event. The latter will speak about Eva Gore Booth, poet, playwright, suffragist and Irish labor activist who organised the first women’s unions. She campaigned for, among other causes, female rights to work in bars.
The disaster in Clerkenwell Prison, which occurred on December 13, 1867, had a devastating effect on the Irish community in England, which sought the longed-for independence, and generated racist waves against the Irish on the island.
Date: Saturday, 13 May 2017, from 1:00 pm. Location: TUC Congress Centre, Great Russell St, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 3LS
Photos: Wikimedia Commons y Pixabay – (Translated by Shanika Whight)