Before I call the Deputy Leader on the Order of Business, I would like to acknowledge the national day of Romania. Some 103 years ago today, the National Assembly in Alba Iulia proclaimed the unification of the Romanian people. A long struggle for independence is just one of the common bonds that unite our two peoples. We are proud and committed partners in the European Union and in the United Nations.
On 1 December 1918, there was a large gathering in Alba Iulia. Romanians from all the provinces assembled to vote on a proclamation that led to the union of all these provinces. It was an historical kick-start for modern-day Romania, which was sadly interrupted by decades of communist oppression. Romanians fought and died for their freedom in December 1989 and returned their country to the European fold.
It was in 1990, in the aftermath of the Romanian revolution, that Romania established diplomatic relationships with Ireland. It was also the year that Ireland faced Romania in the last 16 of the FIFA World Cup, which was a happy day for the Irish, but not so happy for the Romanians.
At present, there are more than 100,000 Romanians in Ireland making a notable contribution to Irish life, and the beautiful Romanian language is being taught in our schools as an exam subject. We would like to wish Ambassador Laureniu-Mihai Ştefan, and all the Romanian people in Ireland and around the world a happy independence day. La mulþi ani România.
I also wish Ms Ilinca Popa in the Seanad Office, who is from Romania and who deals with all of your Commencement matters and problems, a happy independence day. On behalf of all of us, I thank her for all her great work.