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Prof Mary McAleese Commends Transformation In British-Irish Relations

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Prof Mary McAleese Commends Transformation In British-Irish Relations

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Former Irish President and Distinguished Professor in Irish Studies at St Mary’s University, Twickenham Mary McAleese gave a major address on diplomatic relations between Britain Profand Ireland over the past century to an audience of MPs and peers at an event in the Palace of Westminster on Wednesday 24th February. Acknowledging the fraught relationship between Britain and Ireland for much of the twentieth century, Professor McAleese described how relations between the two countries have been transformed over the course of a hundred years. Her speech covered the Easter Rising, the Troubles in Northern Ireland, the long path to peace and improving Anglo-Irish relations which culminated in HM Queen Elizabeth II’s State visit to the Irish Republic in 2011. She also referred to Ireland and Britain’s entry into the European Union on the same day in 1973. The event was organised by the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Irish in Britain, in partnership with St Mary’s University, Twickenham, London, where Professor McAleese is a Distinguished Professor in Irish Studies. It was attended by MPs from across the political spectrum, including several former Northern Ireland Secretaries. Conor McGinn MP (St Helens North), Chair of the Irish in Britain APPG said, "It is an honour for me and the APPG on the Irish in Britain to host former President McAleese in Parliament. She is a seminal, inspirational figure who has been central to relations between the UK and Ireland over the last 20 years. "The centenary of the Easter Rising is hugely important to the Irish in Britain, and as on the island of Ireland there are a range of views, experiences and thoughts about its impact and its consequences. The Irish in Britain played a significant role in the events of 1916, and our community now - 100 years later in 2016 - is at the forefront of driving forward a new and positive relationship between these two islands.” The address was recorded and will be shown on BBC Parliament at 9pm on Saturday 27th February.  
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