March 17th is St. Patrick's Day and Irelands National Day. It is a day of huge importance to all those people of Irish descent and affinity around the world.
Ireland, though a small country with a population of five million people, has a global diaspora of over 65 million people. People across the world instantly identify St. Patrick’s Day with the island of Ireland.
Ireland — because of our history of colonization and migration, our geography, our centuries of poverty and the structure of our economy — has a necessary, almost existential, global focus.
This outward focus is also reflected in our foreign policy. We recognize our future development and success as a country is very closely tied to the international affiliations we establish.
Our EU membership, for example has been central to the transformation of Ireland’s economy and society over the past 40 years.
Since joining the United Nations in 1955, has made huge contributions to global agreements and activities in nuclear disarmament, development cooperation, peace keeping and the protection of human rights.
We currently serve as an elected member of the UN Security Council.
Hundred years ago, Ireland took our first decisions as a sovereign, democratic state. Our National Day is an occasion to extol human fellowship, empathy and solidarity — true values of our Republic.
As we reflect upon this, we cannot but express our abhorrence on the assault of democracy over past weeks in Ukraine. The freedoms and rights of Ukrainian citizens have been trampled upon through the unjustified, unprovoked and immoral invasion of their country.
Today, on our National Day, rather than celebrating, Irish people everywhere join in solidarity with the resilience and courage of the Ukrainian people.
And while global attention is now focused on Ukraine and the countries to which desperate displaced people are seeking refuge, we remember that this week, also, we mark the commencement of the 12th year of the conflict in Syria.
And we reflect on the unimaginable suffering consequent to this war and the stalemate towards a political solution.
And just as we are witnessing the generosity of Poland, Hungary and many other countries in opening their borders to those displaced by war in Ukraine — so also do we remember the open hearted way in which Jordan has welcomed refugees in such huge numbers from Syria, Iraq and other regional conflicts.
And they continue to bear a huge cost having done so.
And irrespective of what happens elsewhere, the Government and people of Jordan are deserving of our continued political and financial support to ensure these vulnerable people can live a life with dignity that has a future they can aspire to.
And this new reality makes a strong political, economic, security and development relationship between Jordan and its regional and international partners more, and not less, important.
Over the past year, our Embassy in Jordan saw some real progress in the strengthening of bilateral relations between Ireland and Jordan and Ireland.
And there are many initiatives — in the political, economic and development spheres — which are now underway and which are an expression of this.
At this time of uncertainty in the world, Ireland is proud that our relationship with the Government and people of Jordan continues to broaden and deepen.
As bilateral partners and as a fully committed member of the European Union, Ireland will continue to be a strong and reliable friend of Jordan. We look forward to strengthening political, economic and cultural ties over coming years in ways that are beneficial to both countries.