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August 8, 2022

St Patrick’s Day message from Paul McGarry, the Irish Ambassador in Romania

In normal times, on St Patrick’s Day, Irish Ministers travel around the world to meet friends of Ireland, promote Ireland as a place to visit and do business and meet with our diaspora. It is a tradition that goes back almost to the foundation of our State.

However, this year our St Patrick’s Day message is different. Today our message is, first and foremost, about solidarity with the people of Ukraine as they endure this terrible war. It is also a message of European unity in the face of this aggression.

While Ireland is militarily neutral, we are not neutral when it comes to our values, our European values. We stand by the values enshrined in membership of the Union. We live or aspire to live, in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail. We believe in human dignity and the right of everyone to freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law, and human rights.

That is why we are standing with our European partners and participating fully in the sanctions regime against Russia. It is why we are participating in bringing aid to Ukraine and it is why we have opened our borders to Ukrainian refugees fleeing the conflict and are supporting them in every way we can.

Today, on St Patrick’s Day, a day when we remind ourselves what it means to be Irish, we stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine in their time of crisis. We are European. We know what it is the people in our European family are going through.

The response of the Romanian Government and people and also the response of the Government and people of the Republic of Moldova to the crisis has been impressive, in terms of support for refugees and the Ukrainian people. The Romanian Government has also been generous in its support for the Republic of Moldova as it copes with the crisis. We stand with you and we will do everything we can to support the European Union and our Ukrainian neighbours.

This year Ireland marks two important milestones. The centenary of our independence and 50 years ago we signed the accession papers for membership of the European Union. Our struggle for independence helped shape our place in the world. Our member ship of the European Union has shaped the modern Ireland we have today. An Ireland that is prosperous, dynamic and socially liberal. An Ireland that many people, who have come from countries around the world, call home.

Ireland is home to a large Romanian community that makes a wonderful contribution to our society across a range of sectors including health, hospitality, agri, and ICT. Many Romanians are building lives for themselves in Ireland and they are also keeping in close touch with home. We have great connectivity between our countries and many Romanian people are bringing their skills back to Romania to help build businesses here. Our trade is also growing and last year saw a growth in the value of trade in goods despite the Covid pandemic. Trade in goods and services between Ireland and Romania is now valued at almost €1.4bn a year.

Today, Romania is a great European partner and friend of Ireland. We share views on many of the critical issues the world is facing including in areas such as climate action, the green agenda and digitisation. Through the Covid crisis, Romania helped Ireland through its generosity in allowing access to additional vaccines, when our vaccination programme was coming under pressure.

We face uncertain times. As well as the changes to our lives and the way we live our lives brought about by the pandemic, we now face geopolitical change. If this crisis has taught us anything, it is the value of European unity and the value of having friends and partners. We are stronger together and we need to be together, for each other, at this critical time.



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