Statement on the National Centre for Older Irish People

Statement from the Irish Elderly Advice Network  

The Irish Elderly Advice Network has been informed by Mr Sean Kennedy, Chair of the London Irish Centre Trustees, that our proposal to establish the National Centre for Older Irish People and to relocate our Advice Services in the newly vacant Kennedy Hall and offices has been rejected. We are deeply saddened by this decision and feel very disappointed that we were unable to persuade the Trustees of the value of our proposal.

We have been advised that the London Irish Centre has already agreed an alternative option for the Kennedy and although they declined to let us know what this would be, we understand that they plan to make an announcement to the Irish community sometime this week.

Sadly the time frame means we will have no opportunity to appeal the decision. The Chair advised us that the new tenants of the Kennedy Hall have ‘an Irish element’ to them. We sincerely hope that their plans will be successful. They are assured of our cooperation and support in providing the services to the Irish community the Irish Centre was set up to serve. We continue to see a future for the Irish Elderly Advice Network within the Kennedy Hall suite, and therefore we would still welcome a discussion with the London Irish Centre Trustees about leasing office space as part of their new plan.

We had a vision for the Kennedy Hall that would bring together all generations of Irish people to create a true Irish community back here in the centre. Working with London Irish Theatre, Comhaltas, Holloway Gaels, Eire Og and the Irish Pensioners Choir, our wish was to create a pioneering centre with older Irish people at its heart. We believed this proposal would create a proud legacy for older Irish people, past, present and future. Sadly, the current Trustees of the Irish Centre were not persuaded.

We would like to thank everyone who supported this proposal, especially the thousands of older Irish people who signed petitions, wrote letters, made phone calls and worked hard to raise the profile of this campaign. This was a great community effort, ordinary Irish women and men coming together to try and achieve something we believed to would be very special. Sadly we were not successful.

Nora Mulready, Head of Development at the Irish Elderly Advice Network says, “We are very proud to have supported and provided services for thousands of older Irish people and our work continues every day. We will continue our work for and with older Irish people and will continue to seek out opportunities to advance the cause and wellbeing of the older Irish community. Once again, we thank you all for your support and are sorry our proposal was not successful. We must now look to the future.”

From Mrs Alice Kennedy, Chair of Trustees, on behalf of the Board of Trustees and all staff Irish Elderly Advice Network

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