Glencree CEO, Naoimh McNamee said: “Finland and Ireland share a long history in international peacekeeping and promoting peace and we are delighted to join in celebrating 60 years of cooperation and friendship. We are extremely grateful to Ambassador Lahnalampi and her colleagues at the Embassy of Finland to Ireland for their kind support of this year’s peace walk and their ongoing support of our peacebuilding and reconciliation work.”
Addressing the event, Brigadier General Rossa Mulcahy, Assistant Chief of Staff, Irish Defence Forces, said: “For all the great work that we Irish soldiers do on our overseas missions, we are safe in the knowledge that when we return home at the end of our missions to peace on the island of Ireland, we have organisations such as Glencree to thank for all their hard work in contributing to that stability. Your work which often goes unrecognised is, believe me, really appreciated by all of us in the Defence Forces and we are indebted to your altruistic work to build a brighter future for generations to come. The Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation is a world leader in its field, utilizing their skillsets to prevent and transform political and intercommunal conflict while building peaceful and inclusive societies. That is why the Defence Forces are proud of our partnership with Glencree and I am so excited by our bright future as will continue to work closely together.”
Ms McNamee also spoke of Glencree’s ongoing collaboration with the Irish Defence Forces and Training School and the shared opportunities to work together that lie ahead, before leading tributes to H.M. Queen Elizabeth II saying: “The Queen was a remarkable monarch and woman, whose life of duty and service provided a great constancy to many people across the world. Her dedication to furthering peace and encouraging reconciliation between our islands was evidenced powerfully during Her State Visit to Ireland in 2011, along with her husband the late Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. It was the clearest demonstration of their friendship to all of us who share this island, and it was also significant in deepening the relationship with our nearest neighbour.”
The Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Ireland, H.E. Paul Johnston said: “It is an honour to take part in the Glencree Peace Walk in this week of mourning for the late Queen Elizabeth II, who had worked for peace and reconciliation between these islands and building understanding in our relationships with the EU. The late Queen’s visit to Ireland in 2011 marked her commitment to peace and this is continued by King Charles III’s commitment to peace and reconciliation also.”
Following the launch, and to the sound of the Irish Defence Forces Army No.1 Quintet who played throughout the morning, the peace walkers set out from Glencree to the summit of Knocknagaun standing at 555m, where the mountains of Wales could be seen in the distance.