From top: Jean Claude Juncker as seen by the Daily Telegraph‘s Patrick Blower and Mr Juncker’s state of the union speech delivered yesterday
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker delivered his annual State of the Union speech.
Readers should note that, on RTÉ’s Six One last night, Tony Connolly reported:
“I think people will be going through his speech quite carefully. I mean, look, he says he’s not an integration fanatic and his underlying theme today was he wants a Europe of freedom, of equality, of opportunity and the rule of law.
“And you could see where he was trying to balance, perhaps more ambitious roles for Europe with things that would really chime with public opinion – creating jobs, developing the digital agenda, protecting people against terrorism, having greater intelligence sharing among member states.
“Issues like migration, he said, obviously Europe had a responsibility to show solidarity with the downtrodden from other parts of the world. But, balancing that, by saying if you were an illegal migrant and you had lost your right to stay, then you should be sent home.
“I think the Irish Government will be looking very carefully at this idea of dropping the veto on any corporate tax legislation, a very sensitive issue for Ireland. It was in the written speech and it was dropped from the delivery.
“Now I’m led to believe that the delivery is what counts but the fact that he was kind of putting it out there, in the written speech, will raise some questions.
Vietnam president Trần Đại Quang and President Michael D Higgins in Vietnam
President Michael D Higgins gave a speech at Vietnam National University in Hanoi.
During the speech, he said:
Most of you here are students, for whom many futures are possible, in an ever-more interdependent world for which a pluralist scholarship is essential. You are invited to contribute to imagining and shaping a new form of globalisation appropriate for your generation and its future – one that can foster cohesion, social progress and a balanced relation between our human species and nature in all its forms.
This year, Ireland and Vietnam celebrate 20 years of diplomatic relations. However young the formal relationship between our two countries may be, it is one that is built on the solid bedrock of mutual esteem and authentic understanding.
There is so much shared experience in our respective histories; there are so many ways in which we Irish, when we acquaint ourselves with the history of Vietnam, can identify, in sympathy and imagination, with the aspirations of the Vietnamese people.
Ireland’s national journey and the journey of Vietnam are ones that chime: in your recollections we hear echoes of our own path. Yours is a history of so much inflicted suffering by external powers, that while it must not disable your present, or deprive you of future possibilities, yet it would be so important for you never to be asked to assume some false amnesia in its regard. Your history in its fullness belongs to you and the world must learn from its imposed tragedies.
Both our cultures have their roots in ancient civilisations renowned for the value they placed on scholarly learning, spiritual cultivation and the arts. Both our peoples have endured the harmful experience of colonisation, and, in your case, the ambitions of four imperialisms. Both have suffered from the scourge of famine – “the terror of the hungry grass”, as Irish poet Donagh MacDonagh described it. Both of our nations have suffered, in cultural terms, from imperialist theories of culture which sought to justify the racial superiority of the coloniser over the colonised, and to rationalise the ruling of the world by a handful of imperial powers.
We recall the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, after that collision of Empires that was the First World War: a conference to which a young Ho Chi Minh sent a petition asking for the delivery of the independence that had been promised from France. He did not receive an answer from the presiding world powers.
Similarly, the doors in Paris remained closed to the delegation of Irish Republicans who travelled there in an attempt to garner support for the cause of independence from the British Empire. Both rejections were perceived by the Irish and Vietnamese leaders of the time as proof of the risks of placing trust in concessions from an imperial power.
It is important to remember that the Paris Conference was unfolding just a few short years after the Easter Rising of 1916, when a few thousand brave men and women rose to defy the power of the British Empire. This was a milestone event on the path to Irish independence, an event of which we, in Ireland, are celebrating the centenary this year. And we do so with what I have called a hospitality of narratives.
Both our peoples have led an unyielding and irrepressible struggle for independence. We both know, too, how difficult it can be to secure, vindicate and deliver on the promises of freedom, justice and equality that motivated the struggle for independence in the first place. The decades following the heady atmosphere of the days of declared independence are the most challenging.
…The globalised economic and trade structures to which Vietnam and Ireland have been opening, and in which they have been participating ever more actively and with success in recent times, are ones that create great hopes, suggest great opportunities for increased prosperity, security and social progress, but also ones that involve risk and serious challenges. Everywhere in our global system we can see how deepening inequality is threatening social cohesion, and how inter-generational justice is threatened as we witness our natural environment degrading at an alarming pace.
We should reflect deeply on the opportunities and the risks before us, risks that we share. No nation should ever be made to rush unthinkingly towards a model of development presented in the illusory guise of an ill-defined modernity. Is the modernity on offer simply an invitation to imitate the practice of others? Are current models of global trade and finance, production, extraction of resources, ones that truly advance the fundamental objective of human development?
Do those models protect the hierarchy of purpose that should exist – that must be restored – between morally purposive economic and social outcomes? As to quantifying our achievements or failures: To what extent do growth rates as we currently define and measure them reflect the ability of our economies to respond to the basic needs of our most vulnerable citizens?
…The scale of the global challenges we face together requires, it is my deep conviction, not only a recovery of the genuinely idealistic impulses which drew our forefathers forward in their best and selfless moments towards a new world of independence. It also requires, of all of us and you now, new models, new paradigms for cooperation at national and international level, and also new scholarship, of such a nature as can generate balanced and respectful relationships between the peoples of the world, and between humans and the forms of life on their shared planet.
As places of learning, universities and institutes of technology have a crucial role to play in our transformational tasks, and we must ‘think long’. As Vietnam’s much respected leader, Ho Chi Minh, once said:
“For the sake of ten years, we must plant trees, for the sake of one hundred years, we should cultivate people.”
…However great the global challenges we are facing may be, we can, in this century, if we set about it collectively and creatively, succeed in delivering the promise of sustainable development. Doing so is not some vague utopia, rather it will be immensely rewarding to see the fruits of one’s intellectual work delivered for the welfare of all.
It is a promise on which we must deliver urgently. Failure in relation to either of the interrelated challenges of sustainable development and climate change would be a disaster. It will result in the destruction of the prospects of millions to live a life of dignity. Given our existing demographic projections, it will result in massive migratory flows, from poverty-stricken areas, first to cities that are unprepared, then on into the uncertainty of international migratory trails, to which we are currently making such a dismal response.
…The international community also faces the difficult and most urgent challenge of preventing human trafficking. This terrible plight of human trafficking affects countless numbers of men, women and children, who are often seeking to make better lives for themselves and fall prey to ruthless criminals.
The factors which contribute to this problem are, like most of the global issues we face today, very often complex, and while difficult to resolve, must be tackled. Extreme poverty and migration from rural areas are primary factors, but we also need to consider carefully the impact which major development projects – such as the building of dams or the development of certain industries – can have on rural communities and on the continuation of their traditional livelihoods. We must be open to seeing how displacement occurs.
…Finally, but so importantly, may I say how crucial the United Nations’ work on disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons is. This is an area in which Ireland and Vietnam are aligned and actively engaged. It is work that is critical for a safer and more secure world.
There is no doubt that political leadership is fundamental to the achievement of such critical global objectives. I am very confident that the incoming UN Secretary General António Guterres, with his exceptional experience of the work of the UN on the ground, will continue the good work of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in leading the world onto a more sustainable path.
…We are all but migrants in time and space – transient travellers who must do our best to pass on to the next generations, a hospitable ground, on which they can flourish – let us try to do it together.
In recent months, the Irish Government has advocated for our belief that the EU would be better with Britain as a leading member and that Britain and Ireland have always worked together very well as equal partners within the European Union.
I’m very sorry that the result of the referendum is for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. However, the British people have spoken clearly and we fully respect their position and their decision.
I want to assure the Irish public that we have prepared, to the greatest extent possible, for this eventuality. There will be no immediate change to the free flow of people, of good and of services between our islands.
We have previously set out our main concerns in the event of Brexit becoming a reality. These relate to the potential impacts for trade and for the economy and for Northern Ireland, for the Common Travel Area and for the European Union itself.
We have engaged in detailed contingency planning for the possibility of this result and this morning, at Government, we agreed to publish a summary of the key actions which we will now take to address the contingencies arising from the decision of the electorate of the United Kingdom.
Our primary objective remains to protect and to advance this country’s interest. I propose to further brief the Opposition leaders of those actions in the afternoon and the Dáil will be recalled on Monday.
We will continue to implement policies that prioritise economic stability and growth and job creation and to use the benefits of that growth for our people.
…I want to say that we are acutely aware of the concerns which will be felt by the many thousands of people within the Irish community in Britain. Let me assure them that the Irish Government will also have their interests in our thinking, and very much in our thinking as we approach the forthcoming negotiations.
It is important to remember that the position of Irish citizens within the European Union will be unaffected. The other concern that the Government has expressed is about a British departure from the European Union relates to the impact on the European Union itself.
Ireland will, of course, remain a member of the European Union. This is profoundly in our national interest. After more than 40 years of membership, we have built up strong bonds of partnership with all the other member states and with the European institutions and that will continue to serve us well in the time ahead.
We must now, however, being a period of reflection and debate on how we can renew the union of 27 and equip it for the many challenges that lie ahead. There will be a discussion of the next steps at a meeting of the European Council next week.
I will set out, very clearly, our national position at that meeting and I will ensure that our particular national interests are fully respected as we prepare to enter the next phase of negotiations.
From Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s speech delivered earlier following the Brexit vote.
Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald at the passing out ceremony for new gardaí in Templemore Garda College earlier today
From today you have full Garda powers. With such powers comes the great responsibility to use them appropriately, respecting the dignity of all persons you encounter in the course of carrying out your duties.
You have completed the first stage of what is a challenging and rigorous training programme and I congratulate you on that achievement. There is still much learning ahead of you before you are awarded your BA in Applied Police Studies.
In two weeks you will take up your assignments in Garda stations around the country. And I urge you to listen and learn from your tutors, assimilate their knowledge and experience, and use it to good effect as you serve local communities across this country.
Earlier I reminded myself of the principles of this great institution which has protected peace and security since the foundation of this State.
Honesty, accountability, respect and professionalism.
Principles are constant, they underpin everything you will do. But new ideas are the fuel that ensure these principles will continue to live and thrive and adapt to the realities of modern policing, an evolving police force, and a changing country.
So I urge you to bring your own fresh perspective and to share your ideas with your new colleagues across the Force.
The bond between An Garda Síochána and the community depends on trust and confidence. Public trust is earned by honesty, accountability, respect and professionalism. That is what the community expects from An Garda Síochána.
You will play an important role in your community and it is precisely because the service you will provide is so vital, so important to the well being of every citizen and our society as a whole, that you must ensure it is delivered to the very highest of standards.
The Report of the O’Higgins Commission of Inquiry identifies cases where standards were not met, where victims of crime were failed by An Garda Síochána.
That is as unacceptable as it is disheartening and we must take all actions open to us to ensure that these shortcomings are not repeated.
Victims must be at the heart of the Garda service.
In the past the needs of victims of crime have sometimes been overshadowed by a focus on apprehending and prosecuting perpetrators. We must ensure that our response to criminal behaviour is a comprehensive one while putting the needs of victims at the forefront.
I ask every one of you to think about what you can do to re-establish that trust and to ensure that victims of crime are well served when they come seeking your assistance and protection.
The Government is focused on bringing about improvements that will make An Garda Síochána the world class policing service that we all want it to be. To achieve this goal a number of reforms have taken place together with significant investment in resources.
Most significantly the new independent Policing Authority has been established to oversee the performance by An Garda Síochána of its functions relating to policing services. I look forward to the Authority playing an important part in the ongoing reform process.
Another important reform is in the law protecting whistleblowers. The Protected Disclosures Act 2014 ensures that there is a range of options open to those who want to report wrong doing. Now any Garda can have their complaints independently examined by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission.
These are just two examples of important reforms that have taken place. As I have said on many occasions, there is no end to reform for any organisation. Reform is an ongoing journey of practical and cultural change that can never cease. As members, you must be open to new thinking and embrace change.
From a speech given by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald at the passing out ceremony in Templemore earlier today.
“Relations between Britain and Ireland have changed hugely since my visits in 1995 and in 2002. The Good Friday Agreement of 1998, and its successors, have transformed, for the better, the political and security landscape across these islands.
Only last month my son Harry and I were with the President and Mrs Higgins and Mr Flanagan in Turkey, as we paid our respects to the soldiers who fought and died in the Gallipoli campaign.
Even by the dreadful standards of the First World War, the death toll and suffering were horrific. However, the bravery of the troops, on all sides, was extraordinary. Amongst them were over 10,000 Irishmen, colonel rangers, Royal Dublin Fusiliers and Royal Munster Fusiliers and innumerable others, fighting side by side.
Tragically, over three and a half thousand Irish soldiers were killed and many more wounded at Gallipoli. At the time, many Irish nationalists hoped that their participation in the First World War would bring together people of different traditions across these islands. Sadly, of course, it didn’t turn out that way.
But a hundred years later, in remembering the scale of the suffering and sacrifice of that generation, we are at last finding common ground. Working to end the conflict in Northern Ireland brought the two administrations in Dublin and London more closely together.
My mother, the Queen’s, state visit to Ireland four years ago, and the President’s return state visit last year, were further demonstrations of the historical change in our relationship. The success of those visits is clear evidence of the maturity of our relations which are now better than ever, based on mutual respect and friendly cooperation between two sovereign neighbours who share a huge amount in common.
We’ve shed our inhibitions about acknowledging the value that we bring to each other, as trading partners, as places to find work, as sporting rivals and as contributors to a lively exchange of ideas and culture that enriches everyone. After all, the Irish have made a unique and important contribution to Britain – a wonderful warmth of laughter, spontaneity and imagination. Neither Ireland nor Britain enjoys such a deep and broad engagement with any other country.
Our current blessed dear old friendship and cooperation is not, however, founded on pretending that the past did not happen. We all have regrets. As my mother said in Dublin Castle, with the benefit of historical hindsight, we can all see things which we wish would have been done differently or not at all.
I’m only too deeply aware of the long history of suffering which Ireland has endured not just in recent decades but over the course of its history. It is a history which I know has caused much pain and much resentment in a world of imperfect human beings where it is always too easy to over generalise and to attribute blame.
At the end of the day, however, we should never forget that our acquaintance has been long and we can turn that knowing into something new and creative. We need no longer be victims of our difficult history with each other.
But I’m glossing over the pain and the past. We can, I believe, integrate our history and memory in order to reinvest a subtle harvest of possibility. Imagination, after all, is the mother of possibility. Let us then endeavour to become subjects of our history and not its prisoners.
Ireland has had more than its fair share of turbulence and troubles. Those directly affected do not easily forget the pain. Recent years have shown us though, that healing is possible even when the heartache continues.
In August 1979, my much-loved great uncle, Lord Mountbatten, was killed alongside his young grandson and my godson Nicholas and his friend Paul Maxwell. And Nicholas’ grandmother the Dowager Lady Brabourne.
At the time I could not imagine how we would come to terms with the anguish of such a deep loss since, to me, Lord Mountbatten represented the grandfather I never had. So it seemed as if the foundations of all that we held dear in life had been torn apart irreparably.
Through this dreadful experience, though, I now understand, in a profound way the agonies borne by so many others in these islands of whatever faith, denomination or political tradition. Despite the tragedy of August 1979, the memories that Lord Mountbatten’s family have of Cassiebawn Castle and Mullaghmore, going right back to 1946, are of great happiness.
I look forward to seeing, at last the place that he and they so loved and to meeting its inhabitants. Many of them showed the most extraordinary outpouring of compassion and support to both Lord Mountbatten and and Paul Maxwell’s families in the aftermath of the bombing. Their loving kindness has done much to aid the healing process.
A number of us will gather at St Columba’s Church in Drumcliffe under Benbulben’s head for an ecumenical service of peace and reconciliation. The poet Yeats, who is of course buried at Drumcliffe, once wrote that I shall have some peace there – the peace comes dropping slow.
As a grandfather now myself, I pray that his words can apply to all those who have been so hurt and scarred by the troubles of the past. So that all of us, all of us, who inhabit these Atlantic islands may leave our grandchildren a legacy of lasting peace, forgiveness and friendship.”
Prince Charles this morning.
from top: Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall at the Model, Sligo; Prince Charles meets Former President of Ireland Mary McAleese at a Service for Peace and Reconciliation at St. Columba’s Church Drumcliff , Sligo
A translation of the 16th September speech by Catalan social activist Ada Colau during a presentation for Guanyem Barcelona (‘Let’s Win Back Barcelona’) candidates who will contest the municipal elections next year.