Gilmore and Higgins to travel to Mandela memorial

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin calls for Dunnes Stores strikers to be included in delegation

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore will represent the Government at a memorial service for Nelson Mandela. Photograph: Eric Luke

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore will represent the Government at a memorial service for Nelson Mandela. Photograph: Eric Luke

 

President Michael D Higgins is to represent the State and people at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela, which takes place at the FNB stadium in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore will represent the Government.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin yesterday called on the Government and the Department of Foreign Affairs to include in the travelling delegation a representative of the Dunnes Stores workers who went on strike in the 1980s for the right not to handle goods from apartheid South Africa.

The department declined to comment on the suggestion last night.

The President yesterday described Mr Mandela as “an inspirational figure in every sense”, and recalled his meeting with the Dunnes Stores workers in Ireland.

“You could see as well his capacity for emotional gratitude and compassion when he was speaking to these young women who had put the most valuable thing they had, their job, on the line,” Mr Higgins said in Galway. The “notion of an unfinished struggle” was something which “rings out in several of Mr Mandela’s later speeches”, Mr Higgins added.