Gnó an tSeanaid - Business of Seanad

This is our last sitting in this Chamber, hopefully. As I have done in advance of the national days of other countries, I wish to mark the Belgian national day, which is coming up.

Belgium is a close friend of Ireland and has supported peace on this island. The bonds of friendship between Ireland and Belgium are strong and deep. Our enduring friendship is grounded in historical connections from the era of our saints such as Brigid and Faolán and the Flight of the Earls, who made their made their way to Brussels and established an Irish college there. Ireland and Belgium share common values and we promote and defend them on an international stage. Multilateralism, human rights, gender equality, democracy and the rule of law are core to our foreign policies. Belgians, the Irish people and the two governments are committed Europeans. They believe that the EU is the longest and most successful peace process on this Continent in recent history.

We are especially grateful to Belgium for the Island of Ireland Peace Park in Messines and for its contribution to the Peace Park in Dublin, which underlines Belgium's deep commitment to peace and reconciliation. Belgium, with its three different cultures and languages, four regions and the richness of its migrant community, knows the recipe for building compromise and consensus. I wish all the Belgian people, the ambassador here in Ireland and Belgian people around the world, a very happy national day.