Question: What does it mean to be Irish?
Mary Robinson: I thought about that a lot, particularly when I had been honored to be elected President of Ireland. First of all I put a light in the window of the official residence for all of those who had to immigrate. Because when I was growing up in Mayo, immigration was just a terrible, terrible loss. There was a book written about “No One Shalt Stop,” and I wanted to gather in that wider Irish family. And there were a number of reasons for that. We were trying to build the reconciliation peace process in Northern Ireland, and I felt that the Irish are, in fact, much more diverse than we think. We’re all over the world, and we have intermingled, intermarried, and we’ve made our contribution. So by gathering in that Irish Diaspora, I think it was very helpful to a modern sense of a more open Irishness, which went beyond being Catholic and Republican to embracing the many strands of Irishness.
Recorded on: 7/25/07