Thursday, 23 June 2022
Gnó an tSeanaid - Business of Seanad
Before the Leader outlines the proposed Order of Business, I wish to acknowledge that today is the national day of Luxembourg. After centuries of Luxembourg being part of the Netherlands, in 1890 it finally became independent.
In 1947, the birthday of the Grand Duke or Duchess was declared the national day. For 60 years Ireland and Luxembourg have had diplomatic relations built upon the shared values of human rights, the rule of law and effective multilateralism. The close co-operation between our two countries spans multiple areas, including politics, economics, culture and other matters.
Historically, our cultures go back a lot further. The patron saint, St. Willibrord, a monk who received his spiritual education in County Carlow and founded an abbey in Luxembourg in the 8th century, is celebrated there. We also celebrated the 100th anniversary of the publication of James Joyce's Ulyssesthis year.
It would not be appropriate to mark the national day of Luxembourg without mentioning that in 1934, Joyce visited the country and remarked on its rose-growing tradition, which is still celebrated there today. Our embassy in Luxembourg opened in 1973 to mark our membership of the then European Economic Community. Many Irish people subsequently moved there. This led to the establishment of organisations including the Gaelic Sports Club Luxembourg, Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, Irish clubs and even the Rose of Tralee.
There are 140 Luxembourgers living in Ireland, and 148 students came to study in Ireland in the academic year 2020-21. We are delighted that Luxembourg has decided to open an embassy here, and we look forward to welcoming the new ambassador to Ireland. We wish all the people of Luxembourg a very happy national day.