Bastille Day celebrated at the French Residence

Bastille Day was celebrated at the French Residence. In his speech, Ambassador Stéphane Crouzat highlighted the political, economic and cultural relations between Ireland and France, Ireland’s soon-to-be closest neighbour in the European Union.

Remarks by the Ambassador of France to Ireland H.E. Stéphane Crouzat on Bastille Day

Lord Mayor, A Ard-Mhéara
Ministers, Airí
Ceann Comhairle,
Deputies, Senators, Teachtaí dála, Seanadóirí
Chers collègues ambassadeurs,
Mesdames et Messieurs les conseillers consulaires,
Mesdames les consules honoraires,
Cairde na hÉireann agus na Fraince,

Tá an-áthas orm fáilte a chur romhaibh ar lá Bastielle anseo i ngairdíní theach ambasadóir na Fraince, cette maison emblématique de la France à Dublin, qui accueille depuis 1930 nos amis irlandais : une maison chargée de l’histoire partagée de deux pays amis et complices.

The signs of the deep-rooted friendship between France and Ireland are everywhere, as I have come to discover in my first year in Ireland:

- We were at Glasnevin cemetery earlier today with the French Foreign Legion Association in Ireland and its president, Sergent-chef Paul Hoey: there, at the monument which we erected two years ago, we honored the Irish who fought on French soil in three wars, in 1870 and in both World Wars.

- We also honored a man, Michael McWhite, an Irish diplomat who secured Ireland’s accession to the League of Nations in 1923. He fought so valiantly during the First World War with the Légion étrangère that he received the Croix de guerre and later the Légion d’honneur.

- Earlier this year, also at Glasnevin, we laid a wreath on the tomb of Edward Hollywood, the silk weaver who brought the Tricolour from France in 1848, was arrested upon returning to Ireland, escaped to France and married a French silk weaver.

- I was in County Mayo earlier this year: there I followed in the footsteps of General Humbert who landed in Kilcummin harbour in 1798 with a thousand troops to help liberate Ireland. Admittedly, his success lasted only two weeks but it left an indelible mark on our shared history and cimented our friendship.

Testimony of this friendship:

- is the intensity of our political dialogue, with recent visits to Ireland of our Minister of Foreign Affairs, our Minister of European Affairs, our Minister of Agriculture, and some 14 Parliamentarians earlier this month;

- It’s our economic links with some €20bn in trade in goods and services;

- It’s our tourism: the French love Ireland, particularly in this weather, with some 600.000 visitors every year; and as many Irish people go to France every year;

- It’s the strong network of twinnings between our cities, particularly in Britanny. I invite you to visit the Britanny stand on the grounds, there you can subscribe to the Embassy’s cultural newsletter and perhaps win a trip to France with Brittany Ferries;

- It’s technology, with many French start-ups in Ireland, and a vibrant Dublin French Tech Community. I invite you to visit our French Tech stand with some of the members of the Community here tonight;

- It’s the 30.000 or so French people living in Ireland who have chosen this country as their home. Our Honorary Consuls promote strong links between Ireland and France in Connaught, Munster and Leinster and assist French nationals in Ireland;

- It’s the strong network of Alliances françaises in the country, with Dublin being the 3rd largest in Europe after Paris and Brussels; visit their stand today if your need to brush up on your French and discover all the cultural activities on offer.

Ireland and France have a shared history, but also a shared future. We are both members of the European Union, and soon France will be Ireland’s closest neighbour in the EU. This opens up new opportunities for our bilateral relations:

- We want to develop our direct maritime links: later this month, French and Irish port authorities will gather in Dublin to examine possible new routes;

- We are also working on an energy project that will connect our two countries with an electric cable, 500 km underwater, by 2026. It will have the power to provide electricity to 450.000 homes in Ireland. The “Celtic Interconnector” will be Ireland’s physical link to the continent.

We are French, Irish and European. If you wander through St Stephen’s Green until mid-August, you will discover an exhibition which presents some European personal adventures: Franco-European couples, who met on an Erasmus programme, fell in love and founded families. There are a million or so such love stories throughout Europe; 22 are shown in this exhibition. We were honoured that President Michael D. Higgins visited it earlier this month, and I encourage you to do the same.

This year also marks the centenary of the end of the First World War. On 11 November, President Macron will invite many Heads of State and Government to Paris, not just to commemorate the centenary of the armistice of the first global conflict, but together to try and keep the promise that we made 100 years ago: never again. A Peace Forum will be organized on this occasion. It will bring together Heads of State and Government, international organizations, NGOs, intellectuals, all those who want to think, take action, drive modern multilateralism, build peace.

The Irish people in this respect have much experience and much to offer with your profound belief in multilateralism and your experience in promoting and brokering peace. Irish peacekeepers, present on the ground every single day since 1958, do your country proud. As we speak, in Beyrouth as part of the Bastille Day ceremony, the French authorities are conferring on Colonel Gerard Buckley, an Irish commanding officer at UNIFIL in Lebanon who has French troops under his command, the Médaille de la Défense nationale. This shows the strong bonds that our two countries have forged during joint external operations in the service of peace.

There is one other event I should mention, and that is the small matter of a world cup final. Croatia will be a mighty opponent. Did you know that the French word “cravate”, a tie, derives from the word “Croate”? But there will be no tie tomorrow, just a single winner. So may the best team win, and I am delighted that it will be a team from an EU member State!

Finally, I would like to thank warmly those who made today’s event possible:

- mon équipe, à la résidence et à l’ambassade, qui ont travaillé avec ardeur pour la préparation de cette fête;

- Ba mhaith liom buíochas chroíúil a ghabháil le hudaráis na hÉireann go háirithe na Gardaí agus fórsaí cosanta na hÉireann, do na pubaill. Our warm thanks to the Irish Authorities: in particular the Guardi and the Irish Defence Forces for the tents;

- Our thanks go to all our sponsors, notably Servier, BNP Parisbas, Jameson Pernod-Ricard, Sodexo, Peugeot, Crédit agricole, Odaios, L’Occitane.

- and our thanks to the artists who will regale us this evening: the Sharon Shannon band, with its Franco-Irish flavor as the harpist is French, and the Mellow Tonics choir under the expert guidance of Norah Walsh, with whom I much enjoy singing when time allows. They will now perform the national anthems and more throughout the evening.

Éire abú!
An Eoraip abú!
An Fhrainc abú!
Go maire an cairdeas idir Éirinn agus an Fhrainc
Go raibh míle maith agaibh

Published on 30/07/2018

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