Warm Dublin welcome awaits peace advocate
THOUSANDS OF people are expected to fill the Grand Canal Square in Dublin this evening to see Aung San Suu Kyi.
The Burmese pro-democracy leader is visiting Dublin on foot of an invitation from the lawyer Bill Shipsey, who founded Amnesty International’s artist-engagement programme. She will collect an Amnesty award and sign the Roll of Honorary Freedom of Dublin during her six-hour visit.
Ms Suu Kyi will arrive at Dublin airport at 3pm where she will be met by Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore and a delegation from Ireland’s Burmese community.
She will have a brief private meeting with Mr Gilmore before going to Áras an Uachtaráin where she will meet President Michael D Higgins.
She is due to arrive at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre for the sold-out Electric Burma concert at 4.45pm. During the concert, Ms Suu Kyi will be presented with the Ambassador of Conscience Award by U2’s Bono. The award was announced in Dublin at a U2 concert in July 2009 while she was under house arrest.
The peace and democracy campaigner will leave the theatre at 8.30pm for Grand Canal Square. This event is free and open to the public. A number of bands will entertain the crowd from 7pm.
Amnesty International Ireland’s executive director, Colm O’Gorman, said the crowd that welcomed her would be sending a message of hope and solidarity to her supporters in Burma.
“We will be telling them that we stood with Aung San Suu Kyi when she was in prison, that she inspires us much as she inspires them. And now that she is free, we will continue to stand with her and to support the struggle for justice, freedom and human rights in Myanmar.”
She will sign the Roll of Honorary Freedom of the City of Dublin at the invitation of Lord Mayor Andrew Montague and will address the crowd. Councillor Montague said it was “a great honour for Dublin” that Ms Suu Kyi was visiting the city.
She will leave for Dublin airport at 9pm to fly on to England.
On Saturday she visited Norway to collect her Nobel Peace Prize, some 21 years after it was awarded. She said that when she heard she had won the prize in 1991, she knew the Burmese people were not going to be forgotten.
“What the Nobel Peace Prize did was to draw me once again into the world of other human beings outside the isolated area in which I lived, to restore a sense of reality to me,” she told the crowd, led by Norway’s King Harald and Queen Sonja, at Oslo City Hall.