Irish Montreal Bids Farewell To Ray Bassett
FIS reception honours outgoing Irish Ambassador
By Byron Toben
On August 8, The Federation of Irish Societies (FIS) in Montreal feted Ray Bassett, the Ambassador of Ireland to Canada, a fond farewell upon his retirement to Dublin. He had held the appointment since 2010.
FIS is an umbrella group to facilitate relationships between the many Irish organizations here.
Paul Loftus, the chairman of the FIS, as MC, welcomed other prominent invitees to the outdoor reception at, where else, the Irish Embassy Pub and Grill. These included Montreal mayor Denis Coderre, MP Thomas Mulcair and MNAs Geoff Kelley and Kathleen Weil of Westmount. Mr Coderre claims some Irish ancestry (clan McCabe), not uncommon in Quebec.
Also honoured was Margaret Healy, who has been so active in many Irish events over the years.
Lynn Doyle, the retiring president of Cinegael (Irish film festival) also made a few statements, as did Fergus Keyes, who is working on a memorial park for the many Irish who perished during the years of the great hunger emigration to North America.
Plans are afoot, we were told, to replicate the Quebec City musical Grosse Île, which deals with those events around 1847, here.
Lawyer/novelist Peter Kirby presented Mr Bassett with one of his murder series as reading material on the flight home.
Musical entertainment was provided by Siamsa, augmented by Brigitte O’Halloran’s quartet.
Images: John Gilroy
Feature image: left to right – Kathleen Weil, Paul Loftus, Geoff Kelley, Ambassador Bassett and Patricia Basset.
Byron Toben is the immediate past-president of the Montreal Press Club