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Speaking at the Launch of "Inspirational Irish Women"; by Lir Chocolates

 

Speaking at the Launch of "Inspirational Irish Women" by Lir Chocolates at East Wall, Dublin today (Friday 12th September, 1997) the Taoiseach, Mr. Bertie Ahern, T.D., said "It is a real pleasure for me to have been invited here this morning by Connie Doody and Mary White because the success of Lir Chocolates is a mirror-image of Ireland's success, and for much of the same reasons.

A successful enterprise employing 50 people and with an annual turnover of £1.8m, with one-third of all sales being exported, does not happen overnight.

Since that fateful day back in 1987, in Connie Doody's kitchen, there have been ten years of really hard work.

I think that Lir Chocolates have a real winner with this new range of quality chocolates - Inspirational women chocolates - and I wish it every success. Everyone at Lir can be immensely proud of your brilliant success over the past ten years, and the style and sophistication of this new range. Indeed it is fitting that it should be launched on the day that another inspirational Irish woman, President Mary Robinson, retires from office.

A few years ago at our Fianna Fáil Ard-Fheis I used the term 'practical patriots' for those who invest their money, time and talents in setting up new Irish business, because quality employment is the great need of our time. I know that many Irish business people were very pleased with that title, and that it has encouraged them to develop their business from small, to medium to large - where and when that is possible.

I see the Government's role as one of facilitating more and more Irish people to set up their own business, but as well as that, I want to see taxpayers keeping more of their wage-packet in their own pocket. The benefits of Ireland's economic success must be shared with our valued workers and of course with those who are marginalised or disadvantaged. That is this sort of Ireland we want to develop and build.

Central to that is the Northern Ireland Peace Process, which is a source of intense interest, concern and hope, at home and abroad. The potential is enormous - an island of prosperity and peace, where all efforts are concentrated on a common enrichment. It is a prize too-wonderful to be allowed slip from our grasp, and I can assure you that this new Government will encourage every piece of positive progress, and devote all the necessary energy and hard-work to help it become a reality.

On a personal note, I wish to thank Mary White for all the excellent practical work she has done with her colleagues, in promoting peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland, in organising meetings with Unionist women, in visiting prisoners on both sides, and in observing parades. Where she manages to find all the time, I don't know, but then it's nearly always the busy person who is most willing to take on the extra load.

Many, many congratulations to Mary, to Connie, to Peter Fleming , and each and every member of the staff of Lir Chocolates. We wish you all the success which your efforts undoubtedly deserve.

12 September 1997