The new Irish Ambassador to the United States Anne Anderson has asked the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick to consider changing their name to be more inclusive of women.
Anderson, the first Irish woman to become U.S. ambassador has told the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick that she would “love to see them evolve towards a new title of the Friendly Sons and Daughters of St Patrick."
She told the Irish Times that she has opened up discussions that she hopes will be “very constructive” and “frank”.
“Change is not going to happen overnight but they are open to dialogue,” she said. The Washington DC chapter has been in place since 1928.
Anderson, said the non partisan and non religious roots of The Friendly Sons is a valuable asset.
“That is something to be embraced but we should discuss how that might be applicable in the 21st century,” said Anderson previously Ambassador to France and the UN..
Brian Connolly, president of the Friendly Sons’ DC chapter, said he would be talking to the chapter in Washington about the ambassador’s effort.
He said he was “not surprised” a woman had been appointed given the “very strong” career she has had.
The group was looking forward to hosting the Ambassador at an event in the coming 10 days, he said.
Last year Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore refused to attend a men-only Hibernia Society dinner in Savannah Georgia. and he has pushed hard for more women in key diplomatic positions.
A huge rift opened in the Kerry Association in New York over women being admitted and they eventually changed their name from the Kerrymen’s Association.