2nd Jul, 2022

Irish Society future still in doubt

Coventry Editorial 23rd Jul, 2014 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

THE FUTURE of the Coventry Irish Society remains hanging in the balance just months after being handed a possible lifeline following the visit of the Irish President to the city.

It was hoped the visit of Michael D Higgins back in April this year would boost the popular Irish community hub based in the city centre.

Thousands of people lined the streets as Mr Higgins and his wife Sabina toured the cathedral and its ruins before meeting members of the Irish community on what was a described as a memorable day for the city.

But three months later the Coventry Irish Society said it was still struggling to to provide much needed services due to a lack of funding.

The council pulled the plug on its key annual £30,000 funding and it no longer has access to the survivors’ service funding.

Vice-chairman Kay Forrest, told the Observer there is a slight bit of hope for funding from the Irish Government which was still very much a work in process, but she still feared for the future of the society.

She said: “The visit did a lot for the city and helped put Coventry on the map as a symbol of peace and reconciliation.

“We were hoping the council would re-consider but we’re just one of many to take a funding cut from all ethnic minorities.

“We’re doing lots of good work for the people in this city and we need help.

“We’re still in dire straights but we’ll keep battling on because people rely on the services we provide.”

The society was set up in 1993 and since then has provided a hugely important service to all generations of people who arrived to the city from Ireland.

It has seven full-time members of staff but relies heavily on volunteers who provide a wide range of health and welfare services as well as a variety of cultural and heritage projects, including the visit of Mr Higgins.

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