Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is all set for her
first ever State Visit to the Republic of Ireland from May 17-20. 2011.
- Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip
visiting Ireland in May 2011..
This is transcript of a powerful speech the Queen
delivered last night at the State Banquet in Dublin Castle, you can
decide if you should put it up on your Carlow site...I thought some in
distant lands might be interested in what she had to say.
Speech delivered by Queen Elizabeth 11 at State
Banquet in Dublin Castle on Wednesday 18th May 2011.
A Uachtaráin agus a chairde (President and
Prince Philip and I are delighted to be here, and
to experience at first hand Ireland’s world-famous hospitality.
Together we have much to celebrate: the ties
between our people, the shared values, and the economic, business and
cultural links that make us so much more than just neighbours, that make
us firm friends and equal partners.
Madam President, speaking here in Dublin Castle it
is impossible to ignore the weight of history, as it was yesterday when
you and I laid wreaths at the Garden of Remembrance.
Indeed, so much of this visit reminds us of the
complexity of our history, its many layers and traditions, but also the
importance of forbearance and conciliation. Of being able to bow to the
past, but not be bound by it.
Of course, the relationship has not always been
straightforward; nor has the record over the centuries been entirely
benign. It is a sad and regrettable reality that through history our
islands have experienced more than their fair share of heartache,
turbulence and loss.
These events have touched us all, many of us
personally, and are a painful legacy. We can never forget those who have
died or been injured, and their families. To all those who have suffered
as a consequence of our troubled past I extend my sincere thoughts and
deep sympathy. With the benefit of historical hindsight we can all see
things which we would wish had been done differently or not at all. But
it is also true that no-one who looked to the future over the past
centuries could have imagined the strength of the bonds that are now in
place between the governments and the people of our two nations, the
spirit of partnership that we now enjoy, and the lasting rapport between
us. No-one here this evening could doubt that heartfelt desire of our
Madam President, you have done a great deal to
promote this understanding and reconciliation. You set out to build
bridges. And I have seen at first hand your success in bringing together
different communities and traditions on this island. You have also shed
new light on the sacrifice of those who served in the First World War.
Even as we jointly opened the Messines Peace Park in 1998, it was
difficult to look ahead to the time when you and I would be standing
together at Islandbridge as we were today.
That transformation is also evident in the
establishment of a successful power-sharing Executive in Northern
Ireland. A knot of history that was painstakingly loosened by the
British and Irish Governments together with the strength, vision and
determination of the political parties in Northern Ireland.
What were once only hopes for the future have now
come to pass; it is almost exactly 13 years since the overwhelming
majority of people in Ireland and Northern Ireland voted in favour of
the agreement signed on Good Friday 1998, paving the way for Northern
Ireland to become the exciting and inspirational place that it is today.
I applaud the work of all those involved in the peace process, and of
all those who support and nurture peace, including members of the
police, the Gardaí, and the other emergency services, and those who work
in the communities, the churches and charitable bodies like Co-operation
Ireland. Taken together, their work not only serves as a basis for
reconciliation between our people and communities, but it gives hope to
other peacemakers across the world that through sustained effort, peace
can and will prevail.
For the world moves on quickly. The challenges of
the past have been replaced by new economic challenges which will demand
the same imagination and courage. The lessons from the peace process are
clear; whatever life throws at us, our individual responses will be all
the stronger for working together and sharing the load.
There are other stories written daily across these
islands which do not find their voice in solemn pages of history books,
or newspaper headlines, but which are at the heart of our shared
narrative. Many British families have members who live in this country,
as many Irish families have close relatives in the United Kingdom.
These families share the two islands; they have
visited each other and have come home to each other over the years. They
are the ordinary people who yearned for the peace and understanding we
now have between our two nations and between the communities within
those two nations; a living testament to how much in common we have.
These ties of family, friendship and affection are
our most precious resource. They are the lifeblood of the partnership
across these islands, a golden thread that runs through all our joint
successes so far, and all we will go on to achieve. They are a reminder
that we have much to do together to build a future for all our
grandchildren: the kind of future our grandparents could only dream of.
So we celebrate together the widespread spirit of
goodwill and deep mutual understanding that has served to make the
relationship more harmonious, close as good neighbours should always be.