Vladimir Putin

Robinson, Her Excellency Mary

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A description of the speaker's Ireland. The "energy and vitality released by the constant dialogue between a past we cherish, but are not confined by, and a present which is enriched by all sorts of experiments and innovations." The speaker as a direct witness of the constructive energies and exciting changes which are happening in modern Ireland. Looking to the future and reflecting in the widest sense on how to encompass a respect for difference in our democratic values, and how to commend to children the view that cultures, traditions, and histories are deepened and not diminished by sharing. Starting with education. Taking steps to provide a legal and political framework to protect and affirm the rights of culture and ethnic minorities. Developing a pragmatic vision of history … in which the interests of people are placed before allegiances to ideology or group, and where concession or compromise is not regarded as an abandonment of the past, but as a way in which the past can be translated into a hopeful and constructive future. The yearning for peace and reconciliation. Two governments working hard to achieve peace. Seeking ways forward that accommodate each other. Finally, a poem by John Hewitt.

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