Northern Ireland

Michael D Higgins tribute to Northern Ireland peace process

Michael D Higgins
Image caption Irish President Michael D Higgins will deliver the speech at Queen's University Belfast

The Irish president has described the Northern Ireland peace process as "one of the most ambitious and far-reaching political projects of our times".

Mr Higgins was delivering the British Council's annual lecture at Queen's University.

It is the first time the annual lecture has moved outside London and is doing so as part of the Belfast Festival.

"We in this island are involved in a new kind of symbolic migration - from peace to true reconciliation," he said.

"In the peace process, we have been engaged in one of the most ambitious and far-reaching political projects of our times.

"The results could be described as so much having been secured and so much yet to be commenced.

"Lives have been transformed beyond what might have been imagined when we began that journey."

Mr Higgins paid tribute to people who had lost loved ones during the Troubles.

"That sense of entanglement and horrific memory is most vividly present in the lives of those who lost loved ones during the Troubles, who live with terrible injuries and the legacy of violence.

"More than any other group, they have been asked so much more than others - and are asked daily - to make a most difficult accommodation for peace.

"No group has done more to bring about the benefits we have all gained from the peace process than they and I salute them."

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