The following is the transcript of a speech given by the acting Chairperson of Enniscorthy Town Council, Cllr Johnny Mythen, to the London Wexford Association in Enniscorthy recently. The Sinn Féin Councillor highlighted the important role that the association has played, and continues to play, for young Wexford men and women who are forced to emigrate to London in search of work.
Ladies and gentlemen, fellow councillors, Cathaoirleachi and our distinguished guests, the London Wexford Association and their chairman Tommy Hannell. We are all very proud and honoured tonight as fellow Wexford yellow bellies to welcome home for the first time on wexford soil the annual get together of the London Wexford Association, and to say from the bottom of our hearts, Failte roimh sa bhaile fein ar do thalamh fein le do mhuintir fein agus do chuid fein contae loch Garman. Welcome to your own home, your own land, your own people and your own county wexford.
London has the strongest Irish heritage of any English city. This is very evident through the many Irish centres, dancing and music schools, An Londain luchleas gael, the famous Father Murphy’s club, and the many Irish associations like the London Wexford association, who create an atmosphere of a home from home and help in nurturing and sustaining an Irish identity and an Irish culture to exiles both young and old.
Six million people living in England have Irish Grand Parents. 900,000 people of ethnic Irish origin live in London today. This movement of Irish people to England has continued throughout many decades
This tide has ebbed and flowed as a direct response to Political, economical, and social conditions. The latest figures show that 350,000 people, mostly under 25, have emigrated in the last four years. Last year alone 1000 of our sons and daughters emigrated from Co. Wexford.
This is why now more than ever associations like the London Wexford Association should be supported in every way possible, because they have forged in the past and present an unbroken and unbreakable bond between the London Irish and their native Co Wexford. For that we as wexford people we are eternally grateful.
Finally, we sincerely hope you will enjoy your home coming and the rest of the evening. We thank the staff and management of the Riverside park hotel for their top of the range service and hospitality, and last but not least, Robbie Ireton, who’s wonderful idea it was to invite the London Wexford Association to this wexford gathering. Thank you Robbie, and thank you all for accepting the invitation.
Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to divert your attention for a moment before any formal speeches, just to say we are all very conscious that a little over a month ago our former chairman Pat Cody spoke at his last official function here at the strawberry festival ball. If all things were fair and right in this world he would have been speaking here tonight. We remember Pat with fond affection, and pray for his family and friends who miss him dearly. May he rest in peace.