Before we begin consideration of the legislation before us today, we will mark the national day of one of our EU colleagues. Italy's Republic Day marks when the establishment of the Republic of Italy in 1946 is celebrated. The Irish and the Italians have a history of immigration and are known as builders of nations, particularly in the United States of America. Migration between our two nations has been going on for thousands of years. Irish monks led by St. Columbanus founded a monastery in Bobbio, near Genoa, in the 7th century. There is a strong Italian-Irish community here, dating back to the late 19th century and early 20th century. They still have strong links to their ancestral homeland near Valle Camino in the Frosinone province near Rome. We all have enjoyed the fish and chips which they gifted us. There are approximately 11,000 Italians living in Ireland, working in the hospitality, financial services and technology sectors.
This year, Italy marks the 700th anniversary of the death of the father of the Italian language, Dante, who was one of the giants of world literature and culture and who is famous for The Divine Comedy. I would like to wish Ambassador Serpi and the Italians living in Ireland and around the world a happy Republic Day. Buona festa della Repubblica.