The Ireland Fund of Great Britain posthumously honoured Irish construction giant Patsy Byrne when CEO Sheila Bailey presented his son Michael with the Ireland Fund of Great Britain’s “Forgotten Irish” Award, commemorating his outstanding contribution to the Irish community in Britain.
A native of Duagh, County Kerry, Patsy came from humble beginnings and with his brother Johnny founded Byrne Group which is responsible for building some of London’s most iconic buildings including the Olympic Stadium, the Emirates Stadium and the new Centre and Number One Court at Wimbledon as well as The Shard. He was a hugely popular figure in the horse and greyhound racing circuits both in Ireland and the UK.
In his address the evening’s host, Irish Ambassador Dan Mulhall, said that people like Patsy demonstrated that the economy of Ireland was not just about agriculture, like he grew up to believe, but that it could have a sophisticated economy like Britain’s. Dan Mulhall praised Patsy for coming over to London with nothing and creating a company that has helped and supported generations of Irish people living in London.
Presenting the award on the night was Ireland Fund GB CEO Sheila Bailey, who said it was a privilege to commemorate Patsy’s years of service to the Irish community in the UK. Sheila explained that that Patsy “was a man who lived his values…brought employment and security to thousands of our countrymen who arrive here to make a living…and his support for a wide number of causes and charities improved the lives of many more.”
Michael Byrne graciously accepted the award and thanked the Ireland Fund of Great Britain for all the important work that it undertakes to support the less fortunate members of the Irish community living in the UK. He explained that life for young Irish people living in London wasn’t easy and that people often needed some luck. Michael said that Patsy never forgot about where he came from and continued to try and give those Irish people living in London that luck. He ended by saying, “he [Patsy] may be gone but he will never be forgotten.”
For those of you living or working in the London area or those in Ireland and elsewhere who have friends or relatives in London Town ,’The Ireland Fund of Great Britain’ is the foremost Irish charity in the UK providing financial support to organisations that care for elderly and vulnerable Irish people who live in the UK.
For more information on their work please visit its website on www.irelandfund.org.