Ambassador's Blog 2014
22 December 2014
It was the 26th of December 2004, a time when I was working in Kuala Lumpur as Ireland's Ambassador to Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Laos. I had been out that morning and had come back to have lunch with my daughter and son, who were visiting us for Christmas, when my mobile phone rang. It was a call from Dublin, from the Duty Officer at the Department of Foreign Affairs, whose job it is to provide an out-of-hours emergency service at weekends and during holiday periods. The Duty Officer asked me about the tidal wave that had struck Malaysia earlier that morning.
8 December 2014
Ireland's Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade, Charlie Flanagan, spoke recently at the European Council for Foreign Relations (ECFR) in London. During his speech, he explained the reasons why Ireland wants Britain to remain a member of the European Union. Here's how we view this issue.
24 November 2014
On the 19th of November, I gave a talk at London Metropolitan University's Irish Studies Centre as part of the Centre's Autumn Lecture series. The Centre is home to the most complete archive on the Irish in Britain. My topic was 'Changed utterly’: the birth of independent Ireland, 1912-1922. Here is a summary of what I said.
9 November 2014
I had the honour of representing Ireland at the Remembrance Sunday ceremony at London’s Cenotaph on the 9th of November, where I laid a laurel wreath 'In Remembrance, on behalf of the Government of Ireland.'
29 October 2014
On the 17th of October, I had the pleasure of attending an important Irish commemorative event in central London. The venue was number 14, Albemarle Street in Mayfair and the occasion was the unveiling of an English Heritage Blue Plaque commemorating the great 19th century Irish Parliamentarian, Daniel O’Connell, who is known in Ireland as ‘the Liberator’.
15 October 2014
I recently hosted an event at the Embassy marking the 40th anniversary of blues guitarist, Rory Gallagher’s Irish Tour 1974, which was a key moment in the history of rock music in Ireland. Here is what I said on the occasion.
The Revolutionary Generation in Ireland, 1890:1923: some thoughts on historian Roy Fostor's new book, Vivid Faces
7 October 2014
On the first of October, the Embassy hosted the London launch of Professor Roy Foster's new book, Vivid Faces: the revolutionary generation in Ireland, 1890-1923. Roy Foster is Carroll Professor of Irish History at the University of Oxford and a renowned and prolific historian of modern Ireland. Here is what I said at the book launch.
12 September 2014
Optimism can be an unwise indulgence as it often leads to disappointment. This is especially so in uncertain times like ours. This past five years has been a trying time for Irish people as our country was beset by a series of economic reversals. In the past few months, however, I have noted a succession of positive economic indicators which, taken together, suggest that there are now good grounds for believing that Ireland’s economic recovery is gathering pace.
01 August 2014
It was a sunny afternoon in Dublin for the dedication at Glasnevin Cemetery of a Commonwealth War Graves’ Commission Cross of Sacrifice. The impressive ceremony was attended by the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, and HRH the Duke of Kent. A band composed of musicians from the Irish and British Armies provided the musical accompaniment as the colours of both nations were displayed.
08 July 2014
Last week, we held an event at the Embassy commemorating the centenary of the Home Rule Act of 1914. ('Home Rule' would probably now be called 'devolution'.) We had an excellent panel of speakers - distinguished historians, Lord Paul Bew, Prof. Michael Laffan of UCD and Prof. Richard Toye of the University of Exeter, as well as former Taoiseach, John Bruton, who has a great interest in the history of that period – and broadcaster Fergal Keane, as an expert moderator. Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan TD also made some introductory remarks.
02 July 2014
Thank you Chairman and members of the Committee for the invitation to speak here today. Over the years, I have spoken in parliaments in other countries, but it is a special honour for me today to speak, for the first time, in our own Oireachtas.
27 June 2014
I recently hosted an event at the Embassy during which Irish-born academic Brendan Simms, Professor of the History of European International Relations was our guest speaker. Introducing Professor Simms, I offered some reflections on Ireland’s experience of EU membership. This is what I said.
16 June 2014
When I heard about the theme you had chosen for this year's festival, order and chaos, I was attracted by its possibilities. It occurred to me that my own profession of diplomacy, which I have pursued in various capacities and in different parts of the world for more than three decades, could be seen as part of a quest for order in a perennially unruly world.
16 June 2014
Mid-June is a great time of year for Irish literary anniversaries. Bloomsday (16th of June), when enthusiasts the world over come together to celebrate James Joyce's Ulysses, has been with us since the 1950s when the novelist's admirers began gathering at the Martello Tower in Sandycove on the shores of Dublin Bay. Yeats Day (12th of June) is a more recent initiative.
9 June 2014
On a recent Sunday in London, it came home to me how lucky we Irish are when it comes to sport. On that sunny day, I made my way out to Ruislip to see a Connacht Senior Football Championship clash between London and Galway.
27 May 2014
I have had the pleasure in recent months of visiting a number of British Universities where Irish Studies feature on the curriculum.
30 April 2014
I was asked to speak at a lunch in Stratford-upon-Avon at the weekend in honour of Shakespeare on the 450th anniversary of his birth.
23 April 2014
One of the many memorable moments during President Higgins' recent State Visit was certainly the Banquet at the Guildhall hosted by the Lord Mayor of the City of London, Alderman Fiona Woolf.
15 April 2014
What an amazing week that was! The best I have experienced during my long years in our diplomatic service. There were too many highlights to do them justice but here are a few of my favourite memories.
2 April 2014
One of the most distinctive features of an Irish Ambassadorial posting in London derives from the fact that we have such a large Irish community in Britain. This makes it unique among Irish diplomatic assignments.
25 March 2014
I have now been in London as Ambassador for more than six months. Coming on posting to London is an unusual experience for an Irish diplomat. This is because we know so much about our neighbouring island that it does not spring surprises on us in quite the same way that countries further afield tend to do.