Thank you for the warm welcome.
I first like to thank Mrs. Vanda Brady and her team in the Filipino Association of Cavan for organizing what is set to be a very informative forum. To the guest speakers and attendees thank you for giving up your time today.
I am here today for a number of reasons, the first is to congratulate Vanda Brady for winning the Cavan County Council Chair Annual Award for Social Inclusion 2019, Vanda Brady’s work over the past number of years in the Filipino and wider community has been at times life changing for those affected.
In addition to this I am also here to celebrate Philippine Independence day. The Philippines is still a young republic just like Ireland and to in advance of June 12thwe come together to celebrate the sacrifices the heroes of our past have made to grant us the liberties and privileges we have today. It is these liberties that allow a nation to grow and prosper. The Philippines is now one of the fastest growing economies in Asia, it is the largest English-speaking country in Asia and the Filipino people are now world renowned for the professionalism and work ethic resulting in Filipino workers being is such huge demand world-wide.
Brexit and this Forum
The border region is a wonderful mixing pot of diversity and inclusion, here in Cavan the Brady family are well known, evidence of this and a sign of the times to come is that the next generation of Brady’s are Filipino, the Filipino Brady’s from Cavan. Another example of this is the now almost famous Latvian Dancers who am please joined us today and who includes Stanley from south Latvia, very south I think South Africa South.
On a more serious note, on my many visits to Cavan and the border region I can see clearly the sense of community, regardless of nationality, gender or ability. Social inclusion is a major part of life in this generation, the youth of today who are our future have learned to see beyond race, gender and ability and it is something my generation is striving to follow. When I was in primary school there was no non-Irish students in my class, when I went to university outside of Europe many times I was the only white person in my class. I have seen both sides of this but my youngest daughter who started preschool last year cannot even tell the difference between nationalities. This is the future in my eyes. Our children will look back on the efforts we make today to create a balance of diversity and inclusion and be thankful they do not need to do this.
As we all know Brexit creates potential for major disruptions in our lives. It would be hard to find a person that does not have some form of cross border trading. Not a shop, factory or farm in today’s economy does not have some product or component from outside of country. Small items we take for granted cross the border daily making each and every one of us cross border traders either directly or indirectly.
I hope today’s forum will give us all a better inside and leave us more prepared for Brexit.