St Patrick’s Day

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:15 pm on 17th March 2020.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health) 9:15 pm, 17th March 2020

I certainly do, and I thank the hon. Lady for her question. It is very important that we recognise that point. There cannot be a Member in this House who does not have the same opinion. The Church has a key role to play in this. We can think of all the bad things that are happening, such as the coronavirus, but we should also think of all the people who do good things—and do those things without anyone ever knowing. That is what she is referring to. In that group, there are people with strong beliefs who want to reach out and help.

The huge parades that take place across American cities have their roots in the New York parade of 1762, when Irish soldiers in the British Army marched to St Patrick’s Day celebrations with their band playing—we do love the bands—and their regimental colours flying. I salute the work that is carried out to this day by the Irish Guards. The second largest branch of the Irish Guards Association is in my constituency of Strangford and in my town of Newtownards. The largest association is in Liverpool. I want to put on record my thanks to the Irish Guards for being great ambassadors of this great nation. I thank all of those who gave their lives for Queen and country over many, many years. The celebrations continue to this day in New York, Washington, Chicago and throughout the world and are testament to the attractiveness of St Patrick.