Celebrating St Patrick’s Day in Jordan in 2021

[17-03-2021 02:11 PM]

BY Vincent O’Neill

St Patrick’s Day, March 17th, is Ireland’s National Day. It is a time of celebration for all of those of Irish descent and affinity around the world.

Being a small island in the west of Europe, Ireland’s identity has been shaped by colonisation, famine, the struggle for independence and migration.

Our strengths are based on the resourcefulness and resilience of our people, our globally facing economy and the strength of our key international and multilateral relationships.

Those strengths have been enormously challenged over the past year.

Like so many countries worldwide, Irish people have suffered the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in the last 12 months.

We have lost parents, relatives and friends. Public heath restrictions have changed the way we live, the way we work and the functioning of our economy.

However, through this year, we are confident we will defeat this virus and emerge with the strength, resilience and adaptability that has, for so long, defined the character of the Irish nation.

Over the past year also, we lived through the uncertainty that accompanied the formal exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union. While Ireland welcomed the conclusion of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement — we are keen to maintain the closest possible relationship with the UK, post Brexit.

We remain a hugely committed EU member state. We have benefitted enormously from our membership to date and have helped shape its policies and institutions. We believe that our future prosperity is contingent on continued membership of the EU.

Our future as a nation is also connected with the strength of our relationships with key international partners and allies.

In this context, Ireland is proud to serve as a member of the UN Security Council for the period 2021-2022, the fourth time we have been elected to this council.

Today, on our National Day, and as Ireland’s first resident Ambassador to the country, I want to salute the ever strengthening relationship between Ireland and Jordan.

My government agreed to open an embassy in Jordan in January 2019, to deepen political ties; to support Jordan’s key role in maintaining peace and stability in this turbulent region; to assist Jordan in their generous support for Syrian and other refugees and to grow trade volumes between our countries.

And of course, to promote cultural exchange and provide consular services for Jordanian and Irish citizens.

Over the past 2 years, we have really progressed the Ireland Jordan relationship. Our countries have worked together in strengthening the international commitment to the Middle East Peace Process. We are supporting organisations in Jordan that are supporting the care and integration a very considerable number of refugees, we are also providing assistance to support the protection of children, and the rights and welfare of people with disabilities, in the country.

We are expanding trade and economic links and identifying ways in which Ireland’s strengths in agri-food, ICT and education can inform Jordan’s development plans in these important areas.

In celebrating our National Day, I want to congratulate His Majesty King Abdullah, the government of Jordan, and the Jordanian people for the manner in which Jordan has dealt with, and contained the enormous challenges associated with COVID-19 over the past year.

I want to offer a word of thanks also to all Irish citizens, our Jordanian friends and to colleagues from diplomatic and international missions, who have all helped us to set up our new embassy and assisted us in advancing our relations — politically, economically and culturally.

The year 2021 marks 100 years since Ireland achieved its independence. So our celebration of St Patrick’s Day this year has particular significance to all Irish people around the globe.

As we celebrate 100 years of freedom — and in a year that Jordan also celebrates the centenary of the founding of the Jordanian state — we are confident that the darkness of much of the past year will yield to a future of great hope, stability and expectation for both of our great countries.

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