McAleese says Ireland's development 'extraordinary'


The business community has "set the standard" for improving relations between the Republic and the UK, the President, Mrs Mary McAleese, said in London today.

Addressing industry representatives and students at the London Business School Mrs McAleese, said that at the time of Ireland's independence "our relationship with Britain was one of economic dependence, operating in the shadow of a larger and stronger economy".

But today, said Mrs McAleese, Ireland is a very different place. Ireland's "economic progress and development over the past 10 to 15 years have been nothing short of extraordinary".

As a result, Ireland's economic relationship with Britain, like its political relationship, has a "much healthier balance".

The futures of Ireland and Britain "are intertwined and we have a profound vested interest in each other's continued prosperity and wellbeing", said Mrs McAleese.

To underline this point she told delegates the UK remains Ireland's largest export market "and Ireland is, on a per capita basis, the UK's largest export market".

The President also anticipated the expansion of the European Union from May 1st, describing it as "a miraculous undertaking" of "noble intent and shared ambition".

Ireland's story as a first world nation "with a third world memory" will hopefully bring a little hope in a world "where the vast majority of our brothers and sisters waken up to inhuman poverty and neglect".