United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke about Ireland’s Marriage Equality Referendum yesterday (Sunday 24th) as he received the Tipperary International Peace Award, at the Ballykisteen Hotel & Golf Resort.
Opening his speech, where he also used the ‘cúpla focal’:
“Your Excellency Mr. Charles Flanagan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade,
Mr. Martin Quinn, Honorary Secretary of the Tipperary Peace Convention,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dia dhaoibh [Hello]
Tá an-áthas orm a bheith anseo anocht [I am delighted to be here tonight]
“It is an honour to be given the Tipperary International Peace Award. I know I join a list of distinguished women and men who have received this recognition. I know as well that you are paying tribute not just to me but to the work of the United Nations — and especially the brave and dedicated staff who bring our Charter to life every day, including many sons and daughters of Ireland. Thank you.
“As a dynamic member of the Human Rights Council, Ireland is also a strong proponent of human rights.
We saw this commitment yet again with Friday’s referendum. This is a truly historic moment: Ireland has become the first country in the world to approve marriage equality in a nationwide referendum. The result sends an important message to the world: All people are entitled to enjoy their human rights no matter who they are or whom they love”.
The Secretary-General also praised Ireland on its 60th year as a member of the United Nations:
“[..] in this year in which the United Nations marks its 70th anniversary, I would like to congratulate Ireland on its 60 years of membership in the world Organization”.
He also acknowledged the role of civil society organisations in the marriage referendum:
“Civil society organizations were also central in the referendum on marital rights. Civil society must remain a key partner – in implementing the new development goals, building democracy, countering extremism and pointing the way towards a world of dignity for all”.
He said he looked forward to:
“[..]working with the people of Tipperary – and people across Ireland – to arrive at that more peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world we know can be ours.
Go raibh maith agaibh. [Thank you]
The 70 year-old from South Korea, who succeeded Kofi Annan as Secretary-General of the United Nations in 2007, is married with three children, and travelled with his wife, Yoo Soon-taek, to be at the awards ceremony in Tipperary on Sunday last, 24th May.