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Celebrating receiving £350k from the National Lottery

Birmingham Irish Association celebrates after receiving £350k from the National Lottery to help older adults living with dementia.

Local community group, Birmingham Irish Association, is today celebrating after being awarded almost £350,000 in National Lottery funding to support its work with older adults living with dementia and their families. The group will use the money to expand the number of dementia centres to seven over the next three years.

Birmingham Irish Association has a 60 year track record in continuously engaging with, and responding to changing need within our communities building on individuals strengths and dignity..

The group now run three sessions per week in Digbeth in the City Centre and two further pilot sessions in the communities of South Yardley and Kingstanding.

There are approximately 60 people regularly accessing services and we have a waiting list of almost 40 who we are currently unable to accommodate. Those currently using our services come from the length and breadth of Birmingham, with pick-ups at 20 different locations city wide in specially adapted transport recently kindly donated to us.

The new funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest community funder in the UK distributes money raised by National Lottery players for good causes, will see these sessions expanded to the new centres across Birmingham, benefiting 1000 living with dementia and their families.

At the same time the group will grow our innovative work currently funded by BBC Children in Need to increase support for the school age children in families who are experiencing dementia by providing a safe space for them to have fun and get support with peers with shared experiences.

Maurice Malone, CEO, says: “We’re delighted that The National Lottery Community Fund has recognised our work in this way. Now, thanks to National Lottery players we will be able to grow our much needed work and continue to have a positive impact on whole families who are experiencing dementia.

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National Volunteers Week

As National Volunteers week draws to a close we have been celebrating the fantastic work carried out by these incredibly dedicated people.

Their commitment, passion and professionalism help the organisation to run like clockwork, and we would never be able to provide the services to our community without them.

We are very proud of each and every one of them and they are an integral part of the Birmingham Irish Association family.

Congratulations to you all!

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Mary Hoare

On the 17th May we lost our long time volunteer, friend and mother figure to many Mary Hoare.

Mary had supported our organisation for many decades and dedicated her time to caring for those less fortunate than herself. It seems only fitting in National Volunteers week to pay tribute to a very special lady who’s smile and personality lit up many a darkened room.

We will miss her unusual sense of dress, her big hugs and of course the ear bashings!!! BIA will be marking Mary's dedication to the charity in the very near future, but in the meantime may she rest in peace.

Gone but not forgotten.

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Tánaiste signs agreement with UK on Common Travel Area

The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney T.D., has today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the Common Travel (CTA) on behalf of the Government of Ireland, with the UK Government.

The Tánaiste and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster David Lidington MP signed the MOU in London before a meeting of the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference.

Speaking in London, the Tánaiste said:

“Today marks an important moment for the long-standing Common Travel Area arrangement between our two countries.

“The CTA has provided rights and privileges to Irish and British citizens for nearly a century. However, it has not before been formalised in this way.

Many of us have personal experience of the CTA in our daily lives. This MOU demonstrates and confirms the commitment of both Governments to maintaining the CTA in all circumstances. It provides clarity and assurance for citizens of both countries that the way in which British and Irish citizens can live and work freely across these islands will not change.

The Tánaiste also had a message for British citizens living in, or with close personal ties to Ireland:

“The CTA is a practical demonstration of the enduring strength of the British-Irish relationship and of our people to people ties. I want to assure British citizens living in Ireland that they are welcome and truly valued here, as is their contribution to Ireland and Irish life. British citizens will continue to be able to travel freely, live, study, and work in Ireland into the future. I welcome the similar commitment and welcome of the UK Government for Irish citizens in Britain.

“Today Minister Lidington and I will also chair the British Irish Intergovernmental Conference. The CTA arrangements also underpin the Good Friday Agreement in all its parts, as well as the cross-border freedoms central to the lives and livelihoods of the people of Northern Ireland and the border region.”

Through the CTA arrangements, Ireland and the UK cooperate closely on immigration matters. Irish and British citizens are not required to take any action to protect their status and associated rights under the CTA.

Speaking in London where he is also attending the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference, the Minister for Justice and Equality, Charles Flanagan T.D. said that:

“The Common Travel Area, where citizens of Britain and Ireland have enjoyed free movement in each other’s countries since 1922, is highly valued on all sides. The formalisation of arrangements today, a process which started in my Department, demonstrates our ongoing commitment to working together to foster greater reconciliation, shared understanding and partnership”.

Further details of the Memorandum of Understanding and Common Travel Area will be available here.


Notes:

• The Common Travel Area (CTA) is a reciprocal arrangement between Ireland and the UK, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. It allows British and Irish citizens to travel freely between the UK and Ireland and reside in either jurisdiction. It also facilitates the enjoyment of associated rights and privileges for Irish citizens in the UK and British citizens in Ireland including the right to reside, to work, to study and to access social security benefits and health services, and to vote in local and national parliamentary elections.

• The CTA pre-dates our membership of European Union and will continue after the UK leaves the EU. The CTA is underpinned by deep-rooted, historical ties, and maintaining it has been and continues to be a firm commitment of both the Irish and UK Governments. The CTA has also been recognised in the negotiations on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and there is agreement in the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement that the UK and Ireland may continue to make arrangements to maintain the CTA while fully respecting the rights of natural persons conferred by Union law. Ireland will continue to meet all obligations under EU law in any circumstance.

• The new Memorandum of Understanding is the culmination of over two years work and codifies the shared principles and common understanding between Ireland and the UK of what the CTA entails and covers. This reaffirms the existing CTA arrangements between Ireland the UK and recognises the shared commitment of both to protect the associated reciprocal rights and privileges. The CTA is of vital importance to both Irish and British citizens. It is an enabler of the cross-border freedoms central to the lives and livelihoods of the people of Northern Ireland and the border region. The CTA is also of great benefit to Irish and British citizens, who will continue to enjoy associated rights and freedom of movement to each other’s countries no matter the outcome of Brexit, and is a key example of continued positive British-Irish engagement and cooperation.

• Cooperation between Ireland and the UK on immigration matters relating to the Common Travel Area is conducted through long-stranding structures which will continue.

• Ireland and the United Kingdom have agreed that all existing arrangements regarding Social Security entitlements will be maintained in Ireland and the UK. This means that Irish citizens living in Ireland maintain the right to benefit from Social Insurance contributions made when working in the UK and to access Social Insurance payments if living in the UK and vice versa. Existing reciprocal arrangements for other payments, such as child benefit, and pensions will also be maintained.

• All citizens, no matter their age, have access to all levels of education and training in either jurisdiction. This includes the EU level of fees and SUSI grants for UK citizens attending Irish Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), along with SUSI grants for Irish students attending UK HEIS.

• Both the Irish and British Governments are committed to maintaining the current healthcare arrangements under the CTA. Under the CTA, Irish citizens and British citizens who live in, work in, or visit the other state have the right to access healthcare there. This encompasses North South cooperation arrangements which will continue on the island of Ireland.

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Joint Statement on the Common Travel Area

Recognising the deep and enduring relationship between our two countries, the Governments of Ireland and of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland have today entered into a Memorandum of Understanding reaffirming our joint commitment to the Common Travel Area (CTA), and to maintaining the associated rights and privileges of Irish and British citizens under this longstanding reciprocal arrangement.

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed for Ireland by the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney T.D. and for the United Kingdom by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, the Right Honourable David Lidington CBE MP.

The CTA involving Ireland, the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man facilitates the ability of Irish and British citizens to move freely within the CTA. Flowing from this right to move freely are associated reciprocal rights and privileges that are enjoyed daily by British citizens in Ireland, and Irish citizens in the UK. These include access to employment, healthcare, all levels of education, and social benefits on the same basis as citizens of the other State, as well as the right to vote in local and national parliamentary elections.

In entering into this Memorandum of Understanding, the two Governments today reaffirm the standing of Irish and British citizens in each other’s countries by virtue of the CTA. For generations, Irish and British people have moved seamlessly between our countries, and developed deep and lasting ties. Although predating it, the CTA has also underpinned the Belfast / Good Friday Agreement. The CTA has and will continue to enhance and nurture bilateral relations between our countries.

Both the Government of Ireland and the UK Government are committed to maintaining the CTA in all circumstances, recognising it pre-dates Irish and UK membership of the European Union and is not dependent on it. Neither Irish citizens in the UK nor British citizens in Ireland are required to take any action to protect their status and rights associated with the CTA. Both Governments are committed to undertake all the work necessary, including through legislative provision, to ensure that the agreed CTA rights and privileges are protected.

In entering into this Memorandum of Understanding, the Governments of Ireland and of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland reaffirm the immensely important and enduring nature of the relationship between our two countries and the unique ties between our citizens.

8 May 2019

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Irish-UK post-Brexit reciprocal rights agreement

This agreement will put the rights enjoyed by citizens of both countries on a more secure footing.

The CTA ensures freedom of movement for Irish and British citizens between both countries, as well as access to employment, healthcare, education, social benefits and the right to vote in certain elections. Irish citizens can vote in all UK elections.

Agreements have already been reached with existing arrangements on social insurance, child benefit and pensions. Talks are ongoing to continue arrangements in public health and education services.

The CTA was established in 1923. It predates both countries’ membership of the European Union and is not dependent on it.

The UK’s referendum in 2016 sparked some uncertainty however, as for the first time one country would be in the EU, while the other would not. Irish and British diplomats have spent over two years ensuring that the CTA is maintained even in a no–deal exit.

The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website states that “both Governments have committed to undertaking all the work necessary, including through legislative provision, to ensure that the agreed CTA rights and privileges are protected.”

Due to the continuation of the CTA, Irish citizens have been advised that they do not need to apply for Settled Status in the UK, although the option is available to them.

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"Some Stories" Documentary - Tues 7th May

First public screening of "Some Stories"

In November 2018, 15 teenagers from Birmingham and 15 teenagers from Limerick came together to discover the power of empathy

Narrative 4, B-Film: The birmingham Centre for Film Studies and the Department of Film & Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham invite you to witness what happened next. Join us for the first public screening of "Some Stories".

Featuring an introduction by Author Ruth Gilligan and Regional Director of Narrative 4 Ireland James Lawlor. Reception to follow.

Tuesday 7th May, 1.30 - 3.30pm

Electric Cinema, 47-49 Station Street, Birmingham, B5 4DY

RSVP r.gilligan@bham.ac.uk

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CEO Maurice Malone appointed to the Council of State

We at the Birmingham Irish Association are delighted with the recent announcements from the President’s office that our CEO, Maurice Malone, has been appointed to the Council of State.

The Council established by the constitution exists to offer advice to the President.

Commenting on the announcement, Pat Reihill, Chair of Birmingham Irish Association said,

‘’This is a very great honour for the organisation which cannot be overstated, and it is in recognition of the tireless work of our Chief Executive, Maurice Malone, to promote harmony and find solutions. Nowhere was this more in evidence than at the culmination of years of work to unveil a fitting memorial to those who tragically lost their lives in the Birmingham pub bombings in 1974. At the very heart of this project and the impressive memorial is reconciliation, and Maurice is the embodiment of consensus and reconciliation.

The Irish community in Birmingham and across Britain can be confident that their voice will be heard in this important advisory body.’’

Maurice said “I am honoured and delighted to accept the invitation from President Michael D Higgins to be part of his Council of State. I look forward to championing the fantastic work carried out by Irish organisations in the UK and to continue to support the thousands of Irish people who have made Britain home for themselves and their families.”

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President of Ireland Michael D Higgins visits Birmingham

Birmingham Irish Association were delighted to host a visit from President Michael D Higgins and his wife Mrs Sabina Higgins on 11th February.

President Michael D Higgins started his visit with a civic reception hosted by Birmingham’s lord mayor Yvonne Mosquito and later visited the memorial to the victims of the Birmingham pub bombings, which Birmingham Irish Association had  lobbied for a new memorial that symbolises peace and hope for the city.

The President and his wife Mrs Sabina Higgins then met members of the Irish community at the Birmingham Irish Association.

The President addressed the crowd at Birmingham Irish Association, and commented on the history of the Birmingham Irish: "In 2017, much of this history was brought together in the wonderful project, appropriately titled We Built This City."

The project tells the stories of Irish workers who came to Birmingham after the Second World War, through their own words and those of their children.

"Through this project you can get a sense of what it meant to these people to leave home, and how they went on to build their lives in a new city," he added.

Mr Higgins also thanked the people of Birmingham for welcoming the Irish people and their families into their communities.

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Office Volunteers Needed

Volunteers are needed to cover our busy front office at Birmingham Irish Wednesday’s and Thursday’s. from 10.am till 3.pm.

Duties to include

*Answering the phones

*Dealing with enquires from the public

*completing Irish Passport forms and on line Irish passport applications

Very laid back and relaxed environment Full training given

Please contact Trudy on 0121 604 6111 or email trudy@birminghamirish.org.uk

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