Longford was well represented at yesterday’s Buckingham Palace Irish community reception hosted by Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip.
Pat Fitzgerald, President of the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) and Grand Marshal for the Longford St Patrick’s Day Parade where he’d the RBS 6 Nations Trophy proudly in his possession; Paddy Cowan, proprietor of the Irish World Newspaper and Colum Moloney from Brent Irish Advisory Service (BIAS) and former Mayor of the London borough of Brent were present for the special reception to recognise the contribution of the Irish to life in Britain.
Well known Longford photographer Malcolm McNally was also on duty for the evening, diligently capturing historic images for The Irish Post and of course, The Longford Leader.
Over three hundred people – from the worlds of business, politics, the arts, showbiz, sport and charity - attended the reception ahead of the state visit to Britain by President Michael D Higgins.
Irish Ambassador Dan Mulhall, who was guest of honour at the recent 59th Longford Association in London dinner dance in the Crown Moran Hotel, Cricklewood, said the Buckingham Palace reception was a huge occasion for the Irish community in Britain.
“The invited guests have made a huge contribution to Britain, to Ireland and to British-Irish relations and this is a great recognition of the contribution they have made by her Majesty in hosting this event in advance of the state visit in April,” remarked Mr Mulhall, who was accompanied by his wife Greta.
Among the guests were X-Factor judge Louis Walsh; One Direction star Niall Horan; co-creator of Father Ted Graham Linehan; Grand National winner and racehorse trainer Jonjo O’Neill; musician Van Morrison; ex-Formula 1 team-owner Eddie Jordan; former rugby player Bob Casey; fashion designer Orla Kiely; celebrity chef Rachel Allen; former world boxing champion Barry McGuigan; Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Teresa Villiers MP; singer Imelda May and actress Pauline McLynn.
Three years ago, Queen Elizabeth became the first British monarch to visit the Republic of Ireland.