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A Saint Patricks Day Message from the President of Ireland

St Patrick’s Day provides a unique opportunity to increase awareness of Ireland and Irish values worldwide.

There are currently 14 St. Patrick's Day festivals held in Britain. The first was held here in Birmingham back in 1952.

Watch the 2017 Saint Patrick's Day message from President Michael D. Higgins, below.

Watch the 2017 Saint Patrick's Day message from President Michael D. Higgins

You can read more about St. Patrick's Day 2017 on the DFA website by clicking here.

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New Dementia Support Centre

We are delighted to announce that alongside the Dementia Support centres we currently hold on a Thursday and Friday at Saint Annes Parish Centre in Digbeth, a new centre will be opening in February. The new centre will be at the Sheltered housing scheme common room in Steele Grove, South Yardley starting on Tuesday 7th February. If you know of someone who would be interested in attending this centre please contact Trudy or Yvonne on 0121 604 6111 or email info@birminghamirish.org.uk.    

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An evening celebrating Irish heritage, drama & song

Join us for an evening celebrating Irish heritage, drama and song on Friday 21st October at South and City College, Digbeth, Birmingham.

Caisc '16 charts the two worlds of 2016 Birmingham, where the Pearse family, like may others commemorate their Irish heritage on a daily basis. The other world, 1916 Dublin is a world of yearning and revolutionary ideals. As we shift back and forth between these two worlds we can see the legacy left behind by the generations before us.

Tickets can be purchased at a cost of £5.00 online via The Ticketsellers or from the Birmingham Irish Association or Minstrel Music at the Irish Centre.

Contact Melissa Roche at Birmingham Irish Association for further details on 0121 604 6111 or email melissa@birminghamirish.org.uk

Doors open 6.30pm with performance to start at 7.30pm.

Ticket details ...

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Free Legal Clinics To Irish Community

Birmingham Irish Association plays host to free monthly service with legal specialists from Irwin Mitchell Solicitors.

Lawyers at city firm Irwin Mitchell have partnered with Birmingham Irish Association to help Irish people living in Birmingham gain access to legal services.

The clinics, managed by lawyer Rosie Banks, are run from the association’s St Anne’s Parish Centre premises on Alcester Street in Deritend and take place from 2pm to 4pm on the last Thursday of every month.

Birmingham Irish Association provides advice and support services that meet the welfare and cultural needs of the Irish community in Birmingham. Services provided include welfare advice, extensive information service, ancestry tracing, alcohol and substance misuse advice, family support and passport and pensions advice.

Since the legal clinics were set up in 2013, Irwin Mitchell has assisted more than 200 people with a variety of legal issues, including family disputes, personal injury claims and making a will. Volunteer lawyers from Irwin Mitchell attend the centre each month to help members of the Irish community to gain access to legal advice and / or services they need.

Rosie Banks, medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: “People can often struggle to find answers to their legal problems, so our legal clinics have been the perfect place to gain access to the advice they need quickly, or to be directed to more appropriate organisations if legal support is not needed.

"Irwin Mitchell has always been committed to getting out and engaging with local communities and charities, ensuring that the public are fully aware of the support available to them and we are delighted to be working in partnership with Birmingham Irish Association, which has been diligently serving people in the city with primary or combined Irish heritage since 1957.”

General advice can be provided at the clinics where the issue falls within the advisor’s area of expertise, but advisors are happy to discuss legal queries of any nature with clients and to help them to decide whether the advice of a specialist lawyer is required.

Advisors can also put clients in touch with relevant specialists or more suitable organisations, if they do not require a lawyer.

Members of the Irish Community can pre-book an appointment by telephoning Birmingham Irish Association on 0121 604 6111.

Maurice Malone, chief executive of Birmingham Irish Association, said: “This collaboration with Irwin Mitchell enables us to offer our clients much needed expertise in the legal arena, from information on buying a house and writing wills, to personal injury claims and family matters, adding extra value to our existing support and cultural services.”

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Work Experience at Birmingham Irish Association

Three pupils from Archbishop Ilsley Catholic School and Sixth Form Centre selected Birmingham Irish Association as their work experience placement.  A whole week of activities, including seated exercise at some of our satellite locations,  line dancing at St Anne's Parish Centre with our service users as well as helping out with our fundraising.  Isabelle, Tayla and Sinead said they had thoroughly enjoyed their week.  We wish them well with their studies.

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A message from Ambassador Mulhall ahead of the EU referendum

Dear friends,

Tomorrow is voting day and I wanted to get in touch with you ahead of this important decision, which is of vital significance to Ireland as the UK's nearest neighbour.

I have met and spoken with many of you on the subject of the UK’s EU referendum and of the Irish Government's hope that there will be a Remain vote. Some of you will have met Irish Government Ministers during visits they made to Britain in order to explain the Government's position to the Irish in Britain. This referendum is crucial decision for everyone who lives in Britain, including the substantial Irish community here.

I would like to reiterate some of the points you may have heard and to encourage you, and your networks, to bear these arguments in mind when you participate in the vote tomorrow.

In Ireland, we value the close and constructive relationship we have built with the UK in recent decades. It is our earnest hope that our ties with the UK will continue to strengthen in the years ahead. In the view of the Irish Government, the best way to achieve this is for the UK to remain a member of the European Union.

As someone who has served Ireland as a diplomat since 1980, I look back at how things have changed for the better since that time. When Ireland and the UK joined the EEC in 1973, we were living in a very different world. Those were dark times in Northern Ireland and between Ireland and Britain. Ireland was a much poorer country back then. Too many of our people had to emigrate. As many will remember, visits home were onerous and expensive. Family farms often struggled to survive on account of low prices for our beef and dairy produce.

Membership of the European Union has helped to transform Ireland. It's now a different country. European policies have made it far easier and cheaper to travel to Ireland. Our farmers benefit from European support and EU funding has helped develop our economy, giving our young people today opportunities that were not available to earlier generations.

As EU members, we have learned to work together with our nearest neighbour. Ireland and the UK have very similar views on many of the issues discussed in Brussels. We support each other quite a lot as we have many interests in common.

Without Ireland and the UK being partners in Europe, I doubt if we would have been able to develop the trust-filled relationship that enabled our two governments to work together in bringing peace to Northern Ireland. The EU was a source of support and encouragement for the Peace Process and continues to be so.

The Irish Government believes that a British exit from the EU would be bad for Ireland, for Northern Ireland and for our relations with Britain.

A UK vote to leave would pose a number of risks. It would risk the imposition of customs and identity checks along the border in Ireland and between Ireland and Britain.

We also don’t want to risk damaging the £1 billion of trade that flows each week between Ireland and the UK, which benefits both our countries and our people. This would be put at risk if we had to impose tariffs and would pose a threat to jobs and livelihoods on both sides of the Irish Sea. And we do not want to risk undermining the friendly, neighbourly relationship built between our two countries as partners in Europe.

We want our partnership with the UK to flourish. We believe that this can best be achieved through our two countries continuing to be together as members of the European Union.

We have a unique relationship with the UK based on the presence in this country of so many people who are Irish-born or of Irish descent. We are the only country in Europe with a land border with the UK. We want that border to continue to be an open border so that our people can travel back and forth for business, pleasure or to see family members. We also want Irish people to continue to have the right to live and work in Britain.

For all of these reasons, we hope that the UK will decide to remain in the European Union when you cast your vote tomorrow. I hope that the Irish in Britain, when making up their minds how to vote, will bear in mind the vital importance of this decision for Ireland. Our economy is doing very well at the moment and we want to avoid the economic disruption that a UK exit from the EU would cause, including a likely decline in the value of the pound which would make your visits home to Ireland more expensive for you.

While the decision is of course yours, I trust that the views of the Irish Government will be of interest to you. Thank you for taking the taking the time to read this message.

Dan Mulhall

Irish Ambassador to the UK

- The Ambassador @DanMulhall will be participating in a Twitter Q&A at 3pm today with @theirishpost on the EU referendum. Submit your questions to them!

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Ambassador Mulhall on Ireland and the EU Referendum

I am often asked by members of the Irish community here about my views on the European Union and the coming referendum on EU membership to be held on 23 June. Here is how I normally respond to such questions.

I value the European Union because of the role it plays in keeping our continent peaceful, prosperous and united. It has also supported the peace process in Northern Ireland.

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News Archive

Catch up with the latest news from Birmingham Irish or browse the archive of news below.