herald

Saturday 26 July 2014

Historic day for relations with Britain

PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins made history yesterday by becoming the first Irish head of state to address the joint Houses of Westminster.

In doing so, he highlighted a relationship between Britain and Ireland stretching back 800-odd years, from Strongbow through Daniel O'Connell and Constance Markiewicz, right up to the Good Friday Agreement.

It was the latter, rightly described as "momentous" by the President, which laid the groundwork for yesterday's historic address.

Founded on "the cornerstones of equality, justice and democratic partnership" it has helped ensure, in President Higgins's words, today's "warm, deep and enduring Irish-British friendship".

This address was one of the most significant delivered by an Irish president and marked the shared relationship between the two countries, now closer than at any stage since independence.

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