Visit of Israeli Delegation

Before proceeding to the business of the House I wish, on my own behalf and that of the Members of Dáil Éireann, to offer a céad míle fáilte, a most sincere welcome, to Mr. Reuven Rivlin, MK, Speaker of the Knesset of Israel, and Mr. Yitzhak Herzog, MK, leader of the Labor Party in the Knesset. Incidentally, Mr. Herzog's grandfather, who was an Irish national, was Chief Rabbi of Ireland and ultimately the sixth President of Israel.

When I was a guest in Israel, Mr. Speaker, you expressed the view that peace between peoples is in their mutual interest. You are a man with whom those who wish to have a dialogue can have an honest and fair dialogue that is grounded in your sense of equal respect for all, irrespective of whether their opinions may differ with your views. I respect your belief in the right of all to be heard with dignity and respectful silence, especially those from minority groups, and your fearless vocal championing and defence of democratic principles, be they in defence of Israel as a democracy or, as you have done as Speaker of the Knesset, in defence of the democratic rights of minority groups within Israel and the Knesset. I hope the dialogue we started when I was your guest in Israel can be continued here in Ireland and that the dialogue with those whom you meet is open and honest but always conducted with dignity and mutual respect. Mr. Speaker and your guests, I very much welcome you to Dáil Éireann.