The Ireland Funds Great Britain hosted its annual London City Lunch at the magnificent One Whitehall Place. The sold out event brought together more than 220 leading business figures and dignitaries to support the work of The Ireland Funds.
Kieran McLoughlin, Worldwide President & CEO of The Ireland Funds, opened the program by welcoming guest of honour, An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny. He also welcomed Ambassador of Ireland to Great Britain, Dan Mulhall and his wife, Greta; Chairman of The Ireland Funds America, John Fitzpatrick and Chairman of The Ireland Funds in Ireland, Ronan Foley. Mr McLoughlin gave an overview of the work carried out by The Ireland Funds and thanked guests for their philanthropy. He introduced The London City Lunch Committee Chair and The Ireland Funds Great Britain Trustee, businessman Rory Godson, whose strong leadership was the bedrock of the success of the lunch.
Mr. Godson introduced guest of honour, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, saying that he has been one of the most successful political leaders in the history of the State, his crowning achievement was to lead the country out of the financial crisis that brought it to the brink in 2010, he added that his mixture of political skill, sheer stubbornness and incredible stamina enabled him to achieve what many had deemed impossible. Mr Kenny told the room that The Ireland Funds had been a remarkable success story and a powerful symbol of the loyalty and generosity of Irish people and friends of Ireland around the world. He said that the projects undertaken by The Ireland Funds such as Music Generation, bringing music to over 35,000 children and young people across Ireland and Benefacts, providing a database of information on over 19,000 non-profits in Ireland has provided terrific opportunities to individuals and communities and has changed lives and life across Ireland.
The Taoiseach said that a core concern of The Ireland Funds since it was founded has been promoting peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland and greater understanding between the islands, adding that the peace that The Ireland Funds has supported has brought dignity and prosperity and that this hard won peace is one of the Government’s top priorities ensuring that its benefits are preserved into the future, particularly in the face of the challenges presented by Brexit.
After lunch, Garrett Hayes, Chairman of The Ireland Funds Great Britain, introduced world renowned flautist, Sir James Galway. Guests were treated to a very special performance from Sir James who is regarded as the foremost interpreter of the classical flute repertoire and has sold over 30 million recordings worldwide.
Proceeds of event will support the ongoing work of The Ireland Funds Great Britain which has funded projects including the Birmingham Irish Association, Integrated Education in Northern Ireland, London-Irish Reflections, the Southwark Pensioners and Project Mind Yourself which addresses health and wellbeing in London’s Irish Community.