Thursday, 13 July 2023
Gnó an tSeanaid - Business of Seanad
Before I call on the Deputy Leader to outline the Order of Business, I welcome to the Distinguished Visitors Gallery the French ambassador to Ireland, H.E. Mr. Vincent Guérend. He and his wife are most welcome. Their national day, Bastille Day, is marked here in Ireland, just as it is around the world. This year is the 225th anniversary of the Year of the French. The French attempts to assist Ireland all those years ago are greatly appreciated. It did not work out well that time but the French assistance with Brexit has been vital in the years after the referendum.
This year is the 175th anniversary of the first flying of the Irish flag, a tricolour flag, by Thomas Francis Meagher. It was made in Paris and brought by Meagher to Ireland. The French flag symbolises liberty, equality and fraternity, and the Irish flag symbolises peace between Catholics and Protestants. Meagher referred to that when he stated, "I trust that beneath its folds the hands of the Irish Catholic and the Irish Protestant may be clasped in generous and heroic brotherhood."
I thank the Honorary Consul of France in Limerick, Mr. Loïc Guyon, who is working very hard to bring Patrick Sarsfield home from France to bury him in Limerick. Sarsfield was one of the many great Irish patriots and one of the many thousands who fought for France after the Flight of the Earls and the Wild Geese left our shores centuries ago. I thank the ambassador for being here today as part of the celebrations of Bastille Day, the French national holiday.