Saturday / 20 May / 2017
An evening of remembrance at the Irish Embassy Reception : By Georgia Edkins
The chattering hushed, the drinks stopped flowing; silence hung heavy in the room as Journalists’ Charity friends and supporters remembered the victims of the Manchester terror attack at this year’s Irish Embassy reception.
While the mood was perhaps more sombre than most Journalists’ Charity events, there remained an atmosphere of support and camaraderie as the Irish Ambassador, Dan Mulhall addressed the room after a one-minute silence.
For the Ambassador, the previous evening’s atrocities served to remind us how fundamental the media is in times of increasing instability and uncertainty and praised those daily newspaper editors and journalists who weren’t able to join us due to recent events.
Following in the footsteps of last year’s guest speaker, Theresa May, Michael Howard spoke warmly of the Journalists’ Charity, recognising the important work the charity does for young and old. The former leader of the Conservative party also spoke of his deep sadness surrounding the Manchester terror attack saying: “All terrorist attacks are atrocious and are barbaric…but the killing of so many young people is particularly poignant and heartbreaking.”
A final word was offered by the Chair of the Journalists’ Charity, Jill Palmer, who thanked the charity’s supporters. Glasses were raised and the evening of networking and reconnecting began, with Fleet Street and digital native journalists sharing anecdotes, tips and tricks over half pints of Guinness and tumblers of Irish whiskey.
As one of the most anticipated media events of the season, this year’s Irish Embassy reception was a triumph, reminding us just how important a strong community of journalists can be when facing the unpredictable and, at times, the completely devastating.
As the Ambassador announced his imminent departure from his placement in London, moving to the perhaps more capricious climes of Washington DC, Mr Mulhall will be sorely missed by the Journalists’ Charity and will continue to be one of our greatest supporters.
This was, although deeply moving, a joyful occasion which celebrated our resilience, and we thank the Irish Ambassador greatly for hosting such a special and touching event.