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Tribute to President Mary Robinson

 

The Presidency of Uachtaráin Mary Robinson was special in many ways. The Faithful Light in the window, the Presidential visits to the US, Australia and India, her address to the Houses of the Oireachtas, her high-profile visit to Somalia, her journeys to Belfast, Warrington and Buckingham Palace, are just some of the highlights of a Presidency which was an outstanding contribution to the nation, at home and abroad.

The Irish people are very proud of the unique role President Mary Robinson has played for Ireland over the past seven years. She was a President for the people, meeting them in their own communities to see at first hand the great work of local groups. She invited groups from every area of national life, North and South, into Aras an Uachtaráin, to confirm to them that their work was important to the nation as a whole. She encouraged people, particularly women, to come centre stage, to speak of their aspirations and concerns, to show their achievements and success.

She was a champion of those who strive to overcome the barriers of disability, disadvantage or marginalisation, and take their rightful place in education and in employment. She evoked a strong empathy with the Irish Diaspora, giving a new focus to their isolation and their wish to be re-included in national awareness.

She worked tirelessly with and for the people, and the people have responded with affection, appreciation and pride.

On the international front she has represented Ireland with style, with distinction, with sophistication, and with her own unique brand of caring, warm humanity.

She championed Irish culture, innovation and enterprise, voluntary and humanitarian work - all those special gifts and special concerns, which we see as integral to our make-up as the Irish nation.

We wish her great success working as Commissioner for Human Rights with the United Nations.

We thank her husband Nick and her family who played a very important role in a luminous Presidency.

Mary Robinson is a woman of exceptional talent and charisma. We are proud that Ireland will be represented at the UN, through her work. On behalf of the Irish people I thank her for her great work.

12 September 1997