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Seanad Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 22 Jun 2022

Vol. 286 No. 6

Gnó an tSeanaid - Business of Seanad

Before the Leader outlines the proposed Order of Business, I am pleased to welcome the Slovenian ambassador to Ireland, H. E. Stanislav Vidovič, to the Distinguished Visitors Gallery. We thank him for his presence at our marking of the national day of Slovenia. This year, we celebrate 30 years of international relations between Slovenia and Ireland. Slovenia became an independent country on 25 June 1991, and Ireland, together with other EU countries, has recognised its independence since 15 January 1992.

However, relations between our two countries go back much earlier than 1992, to the time when the wandering Irish saint, St. Virgil, or St. Feirgil, known as the Apostle of Carinthia, sent Irish monks to preach among the Slovenians. Those links have strengthened over the centuries through our shared love of language and culture as a cornerstone of the survival of both our nations. Slovenia became a member of the EU during Ireland's Presidency of the Council of Europe in the spring of 2004. Slovenia can look back on the success of its Presidency of the EU in 2021, during which it led with great efficiency. We are delighted by that success.

Ireland and Slovenia work together in the United Nations and other international organisations to endorse and enhance international peace and security. We respect international agreements, as the ambassador and I discussed earlier, and the rule of law and we promote multiculturalism and multilateralism. Slovenia's support for Ireland during the Brexit negotiations and its ongoing support for Ireland as we work through the difficult issues around Brexit are greatly appreciated. While we are many miles apart from each other geographically, that does not prevent us from having rich bilateral and cultural relations. There are more than 1,200 Slovenians living in Ireland and many hundreds of Irish citizens have made Slovenia their home. They share a love of literature and a passion for culture, including singing and dancing. I welcome the ambassador to the Gallery this morning and wish all the Slovenians who are celebrating their national day a very happy 30th anniversary of the close relationship between our two countries.