Formed in 1954, the Council of Irish County Associations served as a federation for the many Irish county organisations which existed in London. County groups promoted close bonds of friendship and kinship between emigrants from the same locale. They were especially important in promoting county-based affinities in cultural pursuits, serving as a focal point for Gaelic games, for instance. Politically, the County Associations generally promoted reforms in Northern Ireland as a basis for equal rights. They promoted the peace lobby and regarded the republican campaign as counterproductive, bound only to exacerbate sectarian division and to provoke harsher repression.


At the CICA AGM in February 1982, for example, the organisation’s chair urged ‘peace’ to be the priority watchword for Britain’s Irish communities. The previous year, ten Irish republicans had died on hunger strike in HMP Maze/Long Kesh, protesting against the denial of special-category status for politically-motivated prisoners. Lamenting their deaths and expressing sorrow for ‘the heartbreak suffered by the mothers and fathers of those young men’, the CICA chair implored republicans to change their methods: ‘surely in God’s name there must be another way’.

County Associations

Leeds Mayo Association dinner-dance, 1975 (Fianna Phádraig Pipe Band)

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