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Speakers of the Irish Parliament, welcoming PACE members to Dublin, reiterate support for Ukraine, underline key role of parliamentary diplomacy

Tiny Kox, in Dublin

The Speakers of the two Houses of the Irish Parliament, the Oireachtas, have welcomed members of PACE to Dublin, underlining the scale of the challenge in dealing with the far-reaching effects of the war in Ukraine, and reiterating their solid support for Ukraine’s people and leaders.

Seán Ó Fearghaíl, An Ceann Comhairle, the Speaker of Dáil Éireann, hailed “the indomitable spirit” of Ukraine’s people and their leaders, expressed his shock at the evidence of war crimes he had recently witnessed during a visit to Bucha and Irpin, and underlined his conviction that it was necessary to “do as much as is humanly possible” to support the process of Ukraine’s accession to the EU.

He stressed the importance of the work being done by the Council of Europe, praising the Organisation’s suspension of Russia as “an important signal, but just a start to the work needed”. The reconstruction of Ukraine, he said, would be "an immense project which will need intense political guidance and effort and will take decades. A long road of political co-operation lies ahead.”

Senator Mark Daly, Cathaoirleach or Speaker of Seanad Éireann, pointed out that politics and diplomacy were “contact sports”, in which politicians and parliamentarians worked more effectively by meeting and networking together. In its centenary year he recalled the origins of the Irish Seanad, noting the results that were possible when parliamentarians showed “generosity of spirit and pursued a common purpose with determination”, and underlining the power of parliamentary “ripple diplomacy”.

He saluted the work of the Parliamentary Assembly, which he said was “a model for bringing together a wide range of views to resolve difficult issues”.