Statement by the Tánaiste on historic visit of Aung San Suu Kyi to Ireland18 June 2012
Speaking upon the arrival of Aung San Suu Kyi in Ireland this afternoon the Tánaiste said:
"I am honoured on behalf of the Government to give a warm céad míle failte to Aung San Suu Kyi on the occasion of her historic visit to Ireland this afternoon.
Ms Suu Kyi is enormously admired in this country and her visit here is something which we have long hoped to see. I want to again pay tribute to those Irish human rights organisations and individuals who campaigned on her behalf and who helped highlight her struggle over so many years.
I am delighted we will have the opportunity to celebrate with her later today at the concert and the public event at the Grand Canal Theatre where she will receive the Ambassador of Conscience Award on behalf of Amnesty International and the Freedom of the City of Dublin among other honours.
Successive Irish Governments have supported the Burmese people in their struggle for democracy and human rights and I have assured Ms Suu Kyi of our full support in the important period ahead. I hope that the recent positive developments in Burma, including Ms Suu Kyi’s election, herald the real beginning of a new era of peace, democracy and human rights
Together we had an opportunity to discuss relations, particularly focusing on the way in which Ireland can contribute to the process of democratisation. I informed her that I intended to accredit a non-resident ambassador to Burma and to send an assessment team to look at how we can best assist. Over the last five years Ireland has provided aid to Burma totalling €7 million, through NGO and other agencies, and I asked Ms Suu Kyi to let us know how this assistance can remain focussed and relevant to the emerging needs of the people there.
But above all today is a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate the warmth and affection in which this remarkable and courageous woman is rightly held by the Irish people."