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

We will try to do it over three days. The immigration Minister, Kevin Foster, had hoped to come to my constituency, although that will probably not happen because of the coronavirus, but we look forward to getting him down there eventually; it will be a special time.

Apart from me—I have lived there all my life—and other Strangford residents, who knows that we have such world-class golf and spa facilities and playing facilities for children? We must do better at offering what we have, and St Patrick’s day celebrations are a way of doing just that. Will the Minister outline how he believes that that can be achieved and whether some joined-up thinking with local councils and ensuring a Northern Ireland-focused tourism drive can help? Will he confirm the Barnett consequentials of today’s announcement by the Chancellor so that the Northern Ireland Assembly can support businesses? It is important to have that on the record. I am pretty sure that it will be good news, so it would be good to have it in Hansard as a positive response.

It will be apt for me to end with the prayer of St Patrick, which I hope I can in some way replicate throughout my life, knowing that if I emulate St Patrick in loving God and showing his goodness, I will do good and leave my family, friends and countrymen the better for it. The Speaker’s Chaplain recited it this morning, and I want to finish with it:

“Christ with me,

Christ before me,

Christ behind me,

Christ in me,

Christ beneath me,

Christ above me,

Christ on my right,

Christ on my left,

Christ when I lie down,

Christ when I sit down,

Christ when I arise,

Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,

Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,

Christ in every eye that sees me,

Christ in every ear that hears me.”

What better way to finish this debate? I thank the Minister in advance for his comments, and right hon. and hon. Members for their interventions—it would not be an Adjournment debate if we did not have interventions.