Irish National Foresters
The INF began in 1877 as a breakaway from the
Ancient Order of Forestersafter political disagreements. The INF grew rapidly and soon became the largest friendly society in Ireland. It supported Irish nationalism and its constitution called for "government for Ireland by the Irish people in accordance with Irish ideas and Irish aspirations".
By 1914 the order had spread worldwide and had a quarter of a million members in over 1,000 branches. The influx of Irish labour into
Scotlandin the 19th century saw the movement gain a foothold, first in the west and later as far as the east coast.
With the establishment of the
Irish Free Stateand the gradual expansion of the social welfaresystem, the INF went into decline. Some branches, particularly in Northern Ireland, continue to exist.
Richard Corish, High Chief Ranger in 1942 ["Foresters Meet", "Irish Independent", 25 May 1942, p. 3.]
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