Activities & Events
Mary McAleese visited our Project in February 2004 to celebrate our 10th birthday. She gave a wonderful speech - extracts below
It is an honour for Dr. McAleese and I to join you for your 10th birthday party. I have heard so much about you for our Ambassador, Daithi O’Ceallaigh. He speaks of you so highly of you - it lifts your heart.
Southwark has been a part of Ireland for a very long time. You cannot tell the history of Ireland without the history of Southwark and vice versa. The story of all our lives is woven into this place. There is also the Borough connection with Terence McSweeney and his dying here.
We came here, as Bill your Chairman said, as economic migrants when Ireland had nothing to offer. Our people were our greatest export. Ireland lost them and we will never know the true value of what we lost. However, others benefited from their going. Money sent home regularly to keep those at home going. And the Irish contributed so much wherever we went.
Now that Ireland is thriving and we have the first generation who have reversed the tide of emigration it is fitting that we should never forget those who emigrated and be proud of you. We are proud of how well you did wherever you went – you never forgot each other and helped each other and allowed those at home to take pride in your role. You took care of each other and created this Project.
You are so bonded and know what you are capable of - I have looked at the art and I am sure you only discovered this talent because of the Project. And thank you to the line dancers for their performance. Did they ever line dance until they had this Project? I married a Belfast man who is great, but Belfast men though great in other ways, don’t dance - they keep their feet for football!
It is wonderful to see people from every county, probably every parish so bonded together. It is not just the meal you get here it is the feeling of being part of a place where everyone cares. A place full of the craic and fun and you go home at the end of the day and can’t wait to come back to-morrow. This place makes such a difference to your lives besides living within the confines of four walls or walking the streets where everyone you meet is a stranger.
Congratulations on creating this place and congratulations to ‘young’ Bill, the Management Committee and the staff team led by Rita.
I travel all over the world and wherever I go there has always been an Irish person before me. They have always known that they have to make the next generation welcome. You have kept your Irish culture, your heritage and remembered the old days. You have supported each other with caring, sharing and creating opportunities for each other and you take pride in the way Ireland has come on.
We are proud that the Irish Government supports you and it is only right that we should. We are proud to know that you are strongly supported by Local Government. That is only right because you give so much to this place. You set up this Project to show how much you have to contribute and the research that was carried out shows how much the Project means and how much it gives to members. It fills your life up with a glow and warmth.
Thank you for the warm welcome you have given myself and Martin - a wonderful day meeting people from every corner of Ireland. Thank you for the invaluable work you do in supporting each other.
Dermot O'Leary pictured with Nora Higgins (current Chair) at our fundraising Ceili in Cabot Hall in Canary Wharf.
Volunteers & Supporters
SIPP simply wouldn't exist without the hard work and commitment of hundreds of wonderful volunteers and staff Here are just a few of those who have made it work.
We always have a fantastic time at the SIPP Christmas party!