The legacy of inspiration and leadership of the Dail’s First Members is needed now more than ever in the Ireland of 2009.

January 22nd, 2009 - Pat Breen

Fine Gael’s Deputy Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Clare T.D. Pat Breen speaking on Tuesday last prior to attending the Commemoration Ceremony to honour the members that sat in the first dail said “that the men and women who met to form the first Dail just 90 years ago had laid the foundation stones for others to follow in setting up Ireland as a Democratic Republic. Deputy Breen said that the inspiration and the leadership shown by this group of men and women are needed now more than ever in the Ireland of 2009. He said that Ireland has been to the fore front in highlighting “Human Rights abuses” throughout the World because “they stood up and fought for what they believed in.” Deputy Breen added that a new spirit of hope and leadership is sweeping the world with the inauguration of Barrack Obama as US President this afternoon. Deputy Breen commented that “Ireland can overcome our greatest economic challenge of our time, adding that the Country is “crying out for real leadership.”
“On the 21st January 1919, 26 men and 1 woman took their seats in the Round Room of the Mansion House. The Declaration of Independence, the Dail Constitution, the Message to the Free Nations of the World and the Democratic Programme were fundamental to the setting up of the Irish Democratic Republic, putting in place the structures of the Parliament which would be established in this Country. The Declaration of Independence declaring that the Dail was the parliament of a sovereign state called the “Irish Republic.”

“As I sat in that same room in the Mansion House this morning, I thought about those who have gone before us. I particularly remembered those who have inspired me all my life. The legacies of Collins, Mulcahy, O’Higgins, and W.T. Cosgrove who were not only present at this first meeting in 1919 but who made enormous contributions to the setting up of Cumann na nGaedhael in 1923 now known as Fine Gael and who were pivotal to the setting up of the institutions of the Irish State. Michael Collins was to serve as the States First Minister for Finance before his life was cut tragically short. Kevin O’Higgins established An Garda Siochana and both Mulcahy and W.T. Cosgrove served as leaders of Fine Gael.”
“Those who sat on these seats 90 years ago were brave individuals who took their seats against the will of the British Government.”

“They were outward thinking people who knew the importance of reaching out to the free nations of the world. They recognised the need to build political and economic bridges with other countries. Their vision was followed by others who led Ireland to join the EU and the United Nations.”

“Ireland has been to the forefront in highlighting human rights abuses throughout the world and this is a legacy which our forefathers have left us having stood up and fought for what they believed in often at huge personal risk to their own lives.


“These people led by example and today in the Ireland of 2009 we need that same spirit of inspiration and leadership as we face one of the greatest challenges that this Country has ever had to face.”

“Today, as we remember those politicians in this Country who have gone before us, a new spirit of hope and change is captivating the entire world with the eagerly awaited inauguration of Barrack Obama. As US President Barrack Obama is promising a new dawn of leadership and in his own words “ 
In the face of war, you believe there can be peace. In the face of despair, you believe there can be hope. In the face of a politics that’s shut you out, that’s told you to settle, that’s divided us for too long, you believe we can be one people, reaching for what’s possible, building that more perfect union.


“Never before in the History of Ireland do we need that same spirit of hope and leadership. Our Country is at a cross roads. We are facing the greatest economic decline in our Countries fortunes in recent times, every day more and more of our people are losing their jobs, people are crying out for real leadership.”
“Those members who sat in the Round Room in the Mansion House on the 21st January 1919 pointed the way forward for us. Never has there been a more pressing need in our History for real leadership.”