Irish National Foresters

Irish National Foresters

The Irish National Foresters' Benefit Society ("Coillteoirí Náisiúnta na hÉireann" in Irish) is an Irish friendly society.

The INF began in 1877 as a breakaway from the Ancient Order of Foresters after 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 Scotland in 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 State and the gradual expansion of the social welfare system, the INF went into decline. Some branches, particularly in Northern Ireland, continue to exist.

Prominent members

* Richard Corish, High Chief Ranger in 1942 ["Foresters Meet", "Irish Independent", 25 May 1942, p. 3.]


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