Visita de Estado à Irlanda

01 de Junho 1999

Lord Mayor,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to thank you, Lord Mayor, for the warm welcome to this beautiful city of Dublin that you and the Council have extended to me and all those in my party.

My visit expresses a sincere tribute I wish to pay to all its inhabitants. I would also like to state my strong belief in the essential role that cities play in building a Europe of more solidarity, where the institutions are closer to its citizens.

As you know, I was Mayor of Lisbon for several years and I am therefore aware of how complex it is to administer the life of a city on a day-to-day basis, as well as citizens' specific and legitimate demands on their municipalities.

Town administrations must cope at first hand with many of the serious problems facing our modern societies today, finding effective and imaginative answers, paving the way for progress and well-being.

I also believe that municipalities are called on to perform an important function as promoters of economic activity, creating jobs and attractive opportunities for investors, seeking ways to combine public and private interventions, contributing, in short, to their citizens' better quality of life and to an improved urban fabric.

Dublin has been able to meet these challenges skilfully, in fact it presents a particularly successful case of blending the old with the new; to a certain extent this is the secret behind the charm of capital cities such as this one with its rich, living history.

Like Lisbon, Dublin is open to the world. Its harbour saw the arrival, passage and departure of many famous and anonymous people. This constant exchange of experiences, knowledge and ideas has moulded the life of this city and added to the prestige it so deservedly enjoys.

Nevertheless, Dublin also owes some of its magic to those who were born and lived here. In addition to other famous Dubliners who are not forgotten, allow me to mention Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift, Bernard Shaw and, of course, James Joyce. As Pessoa did with Lisbon, the author of "The Dubliners" made this city one of the emblematic places of world literature.

Dublin, in fact, not only enjoys a merited literary fame, it is also an important European cultural centre and its institutions have acknowledged value and well deserved prestige.

I know that it is not easy for a city to stand out as a cultural centre in the increasingly competitive world of European cities. Zealous of its past but conscious that investments and efforts in the present will win it the challenges of the future, Dublin has been able to do this with great naturalness.

Thank you once again, Lord Mayor, for your warm welcome. I wish you, your colleagues and all Dubliners the greatest success.