Before I call on the Leader to outline the Order of Business, I must remind Members that this week, France celebrates its national day. The storming of the Bastille marked the beginning of the revolution which overthrew the French monarchy and created a republic under the guiding principles of liberté, égalité and fraternité. The process was slow and imperfect. It sparked an undying desire for freedom all over the world, including within these shores. It is well known that young Irish men and women were inspired by the values of the French Republic to pursue our own quest for freedom and independence. Indeed, Ireland's national flag is based on the French tricolour.
France supported Ireland's aspiration for independence in the 17th and 18th centuries. In 1798, the first Irish Republic was proclaimed by Wolfe Tone and supported by General Humbert. Ireland and the world were transformed by the developments in France 232 years ago. We owe our French friends an enormous debt of gratitude for having blazed the trail for democracy and freedom that hundreds of millions of people enjoy today. On their national day, I wish our nearest EU neighbour, France, its ambassador, His Excellency Vincent Guérend, all French people throughout the world, and particularly the 30,000 living here in Ireland, a very happy Bastille Day. Vive la France, vive l'Irlande et vive la République.
We also congratulate Italy on winning the European championships yesterday.