Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Seanad Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 2 Dec 2021

Vol. 281 No. 2

Gnó an tSeanaid - Business of Seanad

At the outset, in the absence of the Cathaoirleach and on his behalf, I recognise Finland's national day. In December 1917, after more than 100 years as an autonomous part of Russia, and a preceding 600 years of Swedish rule, the Republic of Finland declared its independence. The Finnish national day is next Monday, but we will not be sitting on Monday, hence the recognition today.

Over the years, Finland, like Ireland, has transformed itself from a poor agricultural based society to a highly digitalised, thriving economy with the happiest people in the world. Finland and Ireland share the experience of small nations which struggled for independence and experienced famine and civil war, which have left indelible marks. More recently, we have shared the journey of hard-won economic development.

Today, our countries share a close relationship as like-minded partners bilaterally as well as multilaterally, including in the EU, the UN and, of course, the Council of Europe. We share commitments to human rights, peacekeeping and peacebuilding. Finnish contributions to the Northern Ireland peace process by former Prime Minister, Harri Holkeri, and former President, Martthi Ahtisaari, are deeply appreciated.

The best known Finn to us Irish is Santa Claus, who has promised to visit all the children in Ireland, and some adults I hope as well, again this Christmas, bringing light and happiness during these trying times.

We would like wish Ambassador Raili Lahnalampi happy independence day. To all Finns and friends of Ireland, hyvää itsenäisyyspäivää. We wish the Finnish people well on Monday, their very special day.