HomeNewsArchived Speeches and Press Releases

Speech at the Inauguration of President Mary McAleese, Dublin Castle


Thar ceann an Rialtais agus muintir na hÉireann, is cúis mhór áthais dom comhghairdeachas a ghabháil leat ardath thoghchán go dtí ard-oifig Uachtarán na hÉireann. Inniu cuireann sé gliondar ar mo chroígach rath a ghuí ort don seacht mbliana atá amach romhat.

On behalf of the Government and the people of Ireland, I am delighted to extend warm congratulations to you President McAleese on your re-election to your high office. Our country has greatly benefited from your first term in office.  I look forward to the further development of your contribution to Irish society over the next seven years.

I also wish to extend my good wishes to your husband Martin, and your children, Emma, Sarah and Justin and to thank each of them for sharing you with the nation.  In particular, may I, on behalf of the Government, pay tribute to Dr Martin McAleese for his vital contribution to the success of your Presidency.  We greatly appreciate the skill, vitality and generosity that he has always shown. 

The inauguration of a President is always a landmark in the history of our country.  Addressing Douglas Hyde in 1938, at the inauguration of our first President, the then Taoiseach Eamon de Valera said; We are glad to pay you honour as one worthy of the office to which you have been called. 66 years on, we honour you today President McAleese and recognise in you a person of the highest calibre, who has carried out her role in the highest office in the land with great dignity, humility and energy. 

Both as a private citizen and in your public role, you, President, have given outstanding and unique service to the Irish people for many years.  Over the past seven years, like your distinguished predecessors, you have been an exemplary President and brought great distinction to our nation. 

You, President McAleese, are greatly admired by Irish people everywhere and this stems, in particular, from the inclusive, independent and impartial manner in which you have conducted your Presidency. 

You have truly been the peoples President and this is clearly evidenced by the dedicated work you do in fostering community and civic spirit across the length and breadth of Ireland.  The encouragement and recognition you provide to those who are working to build, rejuvenate and transform our community, will reap for our country a strong dividend and help widen further the circle of social and economic inclusion.   

I especially want to pay tribute to the way in which both you and Martin have worked quietly yet untiringly for the cause of peace, helping communities to move gradually towards reconciliation.  Seven years ago, on this very day, at the ceremony to mark your inauguration as the first President from our most ancient and historic province, I expressed the firm hope that your Presidency would be a symbol of inclusiveness and deeper understanding and be associated with the desire for a lasting peace based on justice towards all. 

There are many people present here today and across this island who can testify to the fact that yours has been a truly healing Presidency.  You have used your office in an imaginative and courageous manner to foster reconciliation and build a climate where people can cut loose from the wrenching conflicts of the past. 

As Taoiseach, I want to say that I value enormously the inspired work you have done as a builder of bridges and a champion of peace.  It is my fervent hope, and that of my colleagues in government, that you will continue to sow seeds of reconciliation and work to increase the levels of mutual understanding between all the people who share this island.

As President, you have also worked tirelessly and diligently to tell the world the story of Irelands economic and social transformation, winning many new admirers, investors and friends for our country. You will, I know continue to represent Ireland at home and abroad with sophistication, with flair, and distinction.  I am confident too that you will continue to use your Presidency in a constructive and imaginative way that will benefit all our people.  

In conclusion, I wish you, President Mary McAleese, every success in the challenging role you will play in the life of the nation over the next seven years.  I pledge that you will continue to have my full support, and that of the Government, in the exercise of all your duties.