Good afternoon! I am very pleased to be with you.
Dear colleagues, dear friends, Mr Speaker! Thank you for the honour of inviting me to share this ceremony with you. The whole world is watching you, watching how you, Ukrainian MPs, show courage, bravery and leadership.
90 years ago, your country suffered a misfortune that tore its heart out, broke its spirit, but the people are invincible, because today we have an illegal aggression against your country. This is also a great challenge, but we believe that we will overcome it.
Dear friends, I am very pleased to tell you that last November we adopted a resolution supporting your people, standing shoulder to shoulder with you. Mr Speaker, your progress around the world demonstrates the passion and strength of the Ukrainian people, and we bow down and pay tribute to your courage. It is easy for us to speak from other parliaments and to be here. Just travelling by train is nothing compared to what you have to go through because of this invasion. And so we have come to remember those brave defenders of Ukraine who are now fighting in your Security and Defence Forces. And we honour those who have paid with their lives and those who have been wounded. We are with you in our thoughts and in our hearts!
Dear friends, we are commemorating an event today, and as an Irishman, I know what it is. We survived the Holodomor in our country, when the people were crushed, the country was invaded, and now we celebrate 25 years of peace on Good Friday. And we welcome peace in our families and we thank those who have contributed to the Irish people living. We, the parliamentarians, should not be confused, we condemn the invasion, the aggression of the russian federation, we should condemn it at every opportunity.
I would like to address everyone here. We must also reject the idea that the attack on Gaza is the same as the attack on Ukraine. It is not. But, as a proud European, I want to congratulate the European Union for deciding to give Ukraine a fast track to membership. And I congratulate Ukraine on the practical implementation of the recommendations.
I would also like to congratulate some friends here from the Parliamentary Assembly (NATO) for speaking for their nations.
We live in a world on fire, we have severe poverty, food, energy – everything is turned into weapons from the russian federation, but this is neither moral nor legal. When the breadbasket of the world – Ukraine – is going through hard times, there are difficulties with food. And now there is uncertainty around the world about whether there will be enough food for everyone. And I would like to welcome the Ukrainian humanitarian food programme officially launched by the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi.
Dear friends, as I conclude my speech, I would like to say that I feel very humble here. You do so much for your people, and your people need you so much. Sometimes it seems to you that you are not heard, that the world does not listen to you. But this is not true, I assure you. We need you more than ever. Thank you for raising the Ukrainian flag. Thank you for sharing your story with the world. And most importantly, thank you for being elected as parliamentarians who are fulfilling their duties. When you were elected, none of you thought that you would be in the situation you are in now. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. In closing, let me add that your Ambassadors in all countries are doing an incredible job.
Let me conclude my brief remarks by saying that our Ambassador has done a great job.
I want to thank Ms Healy for doing such an excellent job as Ambassador, for what Ireland is doing here through the Embassy.
And Glory to Ukraine!