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Seanad Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 20 Oct 2021

Vol. 279 No. 8

Gnó an tSeanaid - Business of Seanad

Independence Day in the Czech Republic will be next week. An independent Czechoslovakia was declared in Prague on 28 October 1918, just a year before the first sitting of Dáil Éireann in 1919. Following independence, Ireland and Czechoslovakia had contact at various levels, particularly at the League of Nations. Czechoslovakia established a consulate here in 1929. The Czechoslovakian communist coup in 1948 interrupted the development of diplomatic relations. After the Velvet Revolution in 1989, closer relationships were developed, and the first free Czechoslovakian election was held in 1990. In 1993, the independent Czech Republic emerged from the peaceful dissolution of Czechoslovakia. In 1995, an Irish embassy was established in Prague.

Ireland and the Czech Republic share common values and commitments, including membership of the EU and the UN. A bronze bust of renowned playwright Václav Havel, the first President of the Czech Republic, was unveiled at the front of Dáil Éireann in June 2015. This was a symbolic moment for Czech-Irish relations. After the United States of America, Ireland became only the second country in the world in which a national legislative assembly decided to permanently honour the legacy of former president Havel. Our two countries are innovative and like-minded. We share a love of culture and language. Ireland is honoured that the Irish Studies Centre in Charles University, Prague, teaches, researches and promotes Irish culture in European and global contexts, with a focus on modern literature in English and Irish, theatre, film, the Irish language, music and theory. We wish the ambassador and all the Czechs living in Ireland a happy Independence Day.