Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin has welcomed the invitation of Seanad Éireann to the Orange Order to address the House on July 3rd next. Mr Drew Nelson, the Grand Secretary of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, is addressing the House.

Deputy Martin said: “This is an important moment for the country and it further strengthens the relationship and respect that continues to grow amongst all communities on our island.

“As a republican party we will always believe in and work towards a united Ireland. I told our Ard Fheis in March that our party will work day and night to fulfil the republican ideal of uniting Protestant, Catholic and dissenter. The end of violence North and South is not the end of the peace process. We must continue to work to realise the great potential of this island.

“It is in that context that I believe we cannot simply accept North and South engagement at a level of formal exchanges between official institutions. We need an ongoing expansion of co-operation and engagement among all communities and Fianna Fáil aims to play a significant role in realising that potential.

“I look forward to Drew Nelson and members of the Orange Order visiting Leinster House next month. I think it is an important step forward for the country.

“I want to pay tribute to the Cathaoirleach of the Seanad Paddy Burke and Senator Martin McAleese for their work on this matter. Senator McAleese has dedicated himself over many years to building bridges and strengthening relationships on this island.”