We take a little piece of Ireland with us

A Letter From Ireland

a Chara,

I do a lot of traveling. It’s part of the job and means that I get to see sites and meet people throughout the US and Canada. The work is made easy by the activists I meet along the road.

They come in all ages, colors, and sizes. Some have direct links to Ireland, others may be generations away, and some are just like us. All want what is best for our nation. It is that shared sense of “Irishness” that shortens the miles.

One thing I have never got used to is the jet lag. I have stopped fighting it and just accept that I will be tired until it passes. It also means that I get early starts thanks to calls from party colleagues in Ireland. One once woke me at 4:00 am. I explained where I was and he apologised but added, “Seeing as you are awake could I ask you something!”

The best advice I received was to try and spend as much time outdoors as possible to let your body naturally adjust. After a five-hour flight from Toronto, and an eight-hour time difference with Ireland, I landed in Vancouver. It is a beautiful city, surrounded by water and mountains.

So off I went for a walk to stay upright. I headed across a bridge and to the water. As I crossed a park I heard a familiar sound. A group of lads laughing and pucking a hurling ball to each other.

Here I was on the other side of the world and suddenly felt at home. I later found out that I had walked to Kitsilano or County Kits as it’s known by the Irish.

That’s the thing, when we go abroad a bit of Ireland comes with us. This was brought home when I met with a group of activists. There were questions about political developments and the opportunities for Irish Unity and Gaza. Some had newly arrived and others had led down roots and raised their families. There were also Canadians of Irish descent and some who had been lifetime supporters of Irish Unity and campaigners against injustice. All wanted the best for Ireland and how they could play their part in building a new and united Ireland.

These conversations are happening all across North America. This week we have had Sinn Féin speakers at Easter Commemorations across the US and Canada. All of the events were extremely well organized and attended.  

I would like to thank Friends of Sinn Féin in the USA and Canada whose work and fundraising make these trips possible.  

To all of those supporters who took the time to remember the Irish patriot dead and discuss Irish unity, I thank you. I know that you will continue the journey with us.

Is mise,

Ciarán

Ciarán Quinn is the Sinn Féin Representative to North America