Ireland and India are the two countries having great connections since their independence movements from British rule. In the twenty-first century, Ireland became an attractive place for many of us skilled migrants worker. Approximately 60,000 people of Indian origin or ancestors are living in Ireland. Currently, approximately 5,000 students are from India studying in Ireland third-level institutions /universities across Ireland. The Indians are known for their talent, hard work, and disciplined behavior. An estimated twenty percent of Irish front-line health workers such as doctors, nurses, and health care assistants, etc. are Indians of origin. Recently, there is also a surge of other professional skilled workers in IT, Management, Pharmaceutical, and other related manufacturing sectors are seen too. Currently, approximately thirty Indian-based companies are in operation in Ireland. Major Indian companies which have a presence in Ireland include HCL Technologies, Infosys, Tata Consultancy Service, Wipro, Deepak Fasteners, Crompton Greaves, Jain Irrigation, Reliance Genemedix, and Pinewood/Wockhardt. Nowadays, the Indian hospitality /takeaway food sector also growing due to these movements of urbanization and globalization. Today, we (Indians) in Ireland are not only significantly contributing to the health, well-being, and social-economic growth of Ireland, but we are making these two countries as our home, friends, and close allies on the map of the globe. We feel proud that recently both Ireland and India at the same time successful in securing the seat as non-permanent members in the UN’s Security Council for two years term.
INCEPTION OF FICI
The establishment of a Federation of Indian Communities in Ireland (FICI) as an umbrella organisation for diverse Indian communities in Ireland movements took place two decades ago. According to discourse, the initial inception of FICI was taken place around 2007 (but unfortunately no specific date is available so far). However, later on, Tuesday, 13 December 2008, people of the Indian community under the banner of FICI held a solidarity march for peace in the streets of Dublin aftermath of a series of terrorist attacks on Mumbai in November 2008 (The Irish Independent Newspaper 13 December 2008, available at www.independent.ie).
“Tania Mc Farland from the Federation of Indian Communities in Ireland said Indians here were shocked at the atrocity”. “Many of them here have family and friends there and they were all very upset and they wanted to have a peace march so that the people in Mumbai would know that they are thinking of them,” she said.
According to Metro Eireann News of Tuesday 30th December 2008:The Indian community in Dublin has staged a silent peace march, remembering victims of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. The Federation of Indian Communities in Ireland (FICI) recently organised a silent peace march in Dublin to show solidarity with the people of Mumbai following the terrorist attacks on 26 November. Over 170 people were killed and more than 300 injured in the attacks, which India has blamed on the Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba. The group, which has denied any involvement, has the ‘liberation’ of Muslims in Indian-administered Kashmir among its aims. Members of the Indian community in Ireland together with their friends in Ireland started the march at Parnell Street and gathered in front of the GPO carrying placards emblazoned with messages such as ‘No To Terrorism’, ‘No More 9/11 or 26/11 and‘ Value Lives’. According to the organisers, the silent gathering was an expression of the marchers’ rejection of terrorism and their solidarity with the people of India. The march was supported by all Indian associations and societies affiliated with the FICI.
INCORPORATION OF FICI
Then in July 2015, FICI has come to the attention of community leaders and the Embassy of India in Dublin for organising India Day in Ireland. India Day celebration is one of the initiatives for the Indian Diaspora around the globle. It was acknowledged by key stakeholders that around 50 incorporated or unincorporated Indian either regional or ethnic community associations/ groups are prevailing all over Ireland and the only best option is to bring all communities together under the banner of FICI for India Day celebration etc. This was a huge challenge for all the stakeholders. However, this happened with numerous efforts by key community leaders and with outstanding support from the Embassy of India Dublin.
Then, on dated 22 July 2015, Her Excellency Mrs. Radhika Lal Lokesh, Ambassador of India Dublin sought a mandate from community leaders and endorsed a letter to the community leaders for hosting first ever India Day event in commemoration of the anniversary of Indian Independence Day that falls on 15th of August every year under the banner of FICI and supported by Embassy of India to Ireland. Despite these efforts and a mandate, there were again challenges in relation to coordinating or executing this event. Initially, some consensus took on the 9th of August 2015 for the celebration of India day on the 15th of August 2015, but this was postponed due to logistic and operational issues. Then the FICI’s executive body was incorporated by the like-minded heads of community associations on the 21st of July 2015 in a special meeting at the Maldron Hotel Tallaght, Dublin 24. In this meeting, it was decided to organise the first India Day event on the 5th of September 2015 at Farmleigh State Guest house, Castleknock, Dublin 15. Then it was held successfully under the banner of FICI with support from the Embassy of India Dublin, Ireland India Council, OPW Pheonix park, Garda Siochana, Dublin City Council’s Art office, and support from all communities, sponsors, and volunteers.
Then the second India Day was also successfully celebrated on 20 August 2016 at the same venue but the India day event in 2017 at the same venue was hijacked /takeover by Ireland India Council (IIC) in an embarrassing way by sidelining FICI despite IIC involved in founding FICI. It was doubtful, that FICI’s original bank account may be used for the financial transitions in the organisation of India Day in 2017.
Then in 2018, FICI is a company limited by guarantee in Ireland, a legal entity. In 2021, FICI has become again active and successfully carried out two virtual events (72nd Indian Republic Day celebration on 31 January & Annual Convention Day on 5 May). In 2021, FICI hosted the India Day Festival on 22 August as an outdoor free event at Merrion Square Park, Dublin 2 supported by Dublin City Council, Embassy of India, Dublin, and Amneal Ireland as the main co-sponsor. In 2022, FICI’s Tipperary Indians Community chapter has also organised the Internation Day for Yoga on 25th June at Cashel Rugby Club, Cashel Co. Tipperary in conjunction with Tipperary County Council. Then FICI has most organised the INDIA DAY festival on 21st August at Merrion Square Park, Dublin 2 with valuable support from Dublin City Council, and a number of other supporting organisations and sponsors of this event.
Since then, FICI has organised several events and activities either directly or indirectly. This kind of Federations are also existing in Australia, New Zealand, and some States in USA & Canada