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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 9362

SPEECH BY THE PRIME MINISTER, THE HON P J KEATING MP DINNER FOR MR ALBERT REYNOLDS, TAOISEACH OF IRELAND PARLIAMENT HOUSE, TUESDAY 20 SEPTEMBER 1994

Photo of Keating, Paul

Keating, Paul

Period of Service: 20/12/1991 to 11/03/1996

More information about Keating, Paul on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 20/09/1994

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 9362

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PRIME MINISTER
SPEECH BY THE PRIME MINISTER, THE HON P J KEATING MP
DINNER FOR MR ALBERT REYNOLDS, TAQISEACH OF IRELAND
PARLIAMENT HOUSE, TUESDAY 20 SEPTEMBER 1994
It is my great pleasure to welcome you to Australia.
Our two countries share so much history, so much
tradition and culture, so many attitudes.
There is a sentiment we share.
We Australians feel it when we go there.
Prime Minister, we hope you feel it on your visit here.
I have fond, indelible memories of my visit to Ireland
last year.
The day I spent in Tynagh, the place from which my
forebears migrated to Australia, was quite simply one of
the great days of my life.
Addressing the Irish National Parliament was one of the
great honours of my life.
I have been to Ireland before and been enchanted.
Nowhere outside Australia have I felt more at home.
I suppose this is not surprising.
The tragedy of Ireland in the nineteenth century was in
some way's Australia's blessing.
The mass migration of Irish to Australia in the 19th
century and the preservation of their values in the
institutions of the church, politics, the law, academia
and many other other realms of our national life, mean
that Irish tradition has fed and will go on feeding our
own and that the friendship and affection between our
two countries will always endure.
Yet it would be a mistake to think that the regard in
which we hold Ireland is built entirely on the past, or
is nourished entirely by the past.

These are not dead traditions great ideas whether they
are legal, political, religious or literary live do not
readily die.
Traditions adapt to circumstances. They find new shapes
and new expressions in new places and new eras.
Irish songs become Australian folksongs. Irish football
becomes Australian football. The Irish St Leger becomes
a practice race for the Melbourne Cup.
Prime Minister
Down the years Ireland and the Irish have contrived a
powerful place in the international landscape.
They have contrived it from literature from their love
of the creative and the life of the mind.
They have contrived it from their energy and genius at
home and abroad.
We are not talking only about past glories. Irish
literature continues to flourish. Films and music
emerge from modern Ireland with the power to charm and
excite people all over the world.
The essential point is that the Irish are still creating
this place in the world. on cultural and economic fronts
in the European Community and beyond they are
consolidating and expanding their place as never before.
Ireland is becoming a modern nation a sophisticated,
competitive and dynamic economy, an outward looking
economy to serve the aspirations and rights of the Irish
people in the next century. To bring new opportunities
and prosperity to Ireland.
And, what is to be celebrated most, Prime Minister, we
are now seeing the creation of that on which the future
of Ireland most critically depends the foundations of
peace. For so long the Irish place in the world has been defined
by tragedy as well as genius by inhumanity as well as
humanity.
For so long to think of Ireland has meant to think of
violence of the violence done to the Irish and the
violence the Irish have done to themselves.
We now have cause to hope that those days may have ended
that we might see economic modernity and integration
with the world married to peace at a home, to a triumph
of the Irish passion for fraternity over ancient
animosities, to the Irish genius for humanity over
inhumanity.

Prime Minister I know what a pivotal role you have played
in the peace process in Northern Ireland.
Your determination to succeed in this great endeavour,
allied to your understanding of the human and political
issues, your skills as a mediator, your courage, and the
trust in which you are held, has been crucial to the
progress which has been made so far.
We congratulate you for this.
And we also congratulate Prime Minister Major and the
British Government for the constructive role they have
played. The Australian Government welcomed the IRA's announcement
on September 1 that military operations would cease. The
Australian people welcomed it.
You have said that the opportunity now exists to take the
gun out of Irish politics forever.
All Australians hope that the opportunity can be seized,
and that peace comes to Ireland.
They hope as people throughout the world would hope
that the parties on whom peace depends understand that
because Australians love Ireland they hate the war that
goes on there.
Unionists and Nationalists now have an opportunity to
build relationships of trust, to pursue the goals of
cooperation and reconciliation.
To help this process I am very pleased to announce
tonight that, following my discussions with Prime
Minister Reynolds, the Australian Government will
contribute $ 7 million over five years to the
International Fund for Ireland.
Not everyone here tonight will know about the Fund.
The Fund was set up in December 1986 following an
agreement between the British and Irish governments to
promote in its own words " economic and social advance
and to encourage contact, dialogue and reconciliation
between nationalists and unionists throughout Ireland".
The Fund does this by stimulating private investment and
enterprise, supplementing public programs and supporting
voluntary effort, including self-help schemes.
The Fund's role in economic development, particularly in
disadvantaged areas, will help to underpin progress
towards peace and reconciliation in Ireland.

It is the most valuable material assistance we can give,
and we are very pleased to join the United States, Canada
the European Union and New Zealand among other
countries in giving it.
Prime Minister
We have a great deal of shared history and shared
traditions upon which to build our relationship.
It is essential that to the warmth of our relationship we
continue to add the threads which join our common
interests and ambition.
We need to build on those people to people relationships,
especially tourism.
We need more of the kind of institutional cooperation
which saw that great exhibition of European Masters from
the National Gallery of Ireland come to the National
Gallery of Australia.
We want to see the two way flow of investment grow. We
are each of us primarily concerned with our own regionsbut
that does not mean we turn our backs either on old
friends, or on new opportunities.
We hope that Irish business people will increasingly use
Australia as a base for doing business in Asia and that
Australia will use Ireland as a springboard to Europe.
We need the sorts of exhanges which will help our young
people get to know each other.
And we need, Prime Minister, visits like this one.
Visits which strengthen the bonds between us and remind
us that we share not only an extraordinary past, but a
future which really has never been so promising.
I began by saying that we share so much history. It
might be appropriate to this occasion and to the times we
live in if I close by saying that nothing in our history
is so important as the future.
on behalf of the Government and people of Australia I
welcome you and wish you a most enjoyable and rewarding
stay. ends

Transcript 9362