Irish National Foresters

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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 I.N.F. went into decline. Some branches, particularly in Ulster, still exist. The I.N.F. brass band in Navan in County Meath is still promoting music in its surroundings. They practice once a week in the CYWS[clarification needed] hall located in the centre of the town.

Prominent members[edit]

  • Richard Corish, High Chief Ranger in 1942[1]
  • Joseph Hutchinson (1852–1928) founded the INF in 1877 with eight other men. Trustee 1881; Treasurer 1844; and General Secretary 1846. High Sheriff of Dublin 1896; Lord Mayor of Dublin 1904-1906.


  1. ^ "Foresters Meet", Irish Independent, 25 May 1942, p. 3.