Northern Ireland news

Westminster first for Gaels as House of Commons hosts historic GAA event

The Annual Gala Dinner for the GAA Provincial Council of Britain is hosted by Co Armagh native Conor McGinn. Picture by Matt Bohill

GAA dignitaries will be feasting at the heart of Britain's democracy when the association holds its first-ever event in Westminster on Saturday.

President Aogán Ó Fearghail and his successor John Horan are expected to join director general Páraic Duffy, Ulster secretary Brian McAvoy and Irish Ambassador Adrian O'Neill, alongside more than 100 Gaels from across Britain at the Members' Dining Room in the House of Commons.

The occasion is the Annual Gala Dinner for the association's Provincial Council of Britain, hosted by Co Armagh native and Labour MP Conor McGinn.

Mr McGinn, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ireland is heavily involved in the GAA in Britain and is founder and President of Éire Óg, a north London based Gaelic Football team.

"It is a great honour as a lifelong Gael to host the first ever GAA event here in parliament," the politician said.

"The GAA in Britain has been a home from home for the countless young men and women who have emigrated to Britain over the years. It also provides the chance to second and third generation Irish who were born in Britain to express their identity through these games."

Mr McGinn pointed out that "two of the most well-known names in GAA - Sam Maguire and Liam MacCarthy - were of course themselves based in Britain and drove the GAA and Irish cultural revival in London".

A special postcard print of `The Men Who Made Home Rule', by William Drummond Young and featuring Charles Stuart Parnell and Archbishop Croke will be presented to those attending.

The original is part of the House of Commons official art collection.

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