That past is still within our living memory, a time when neighbour helped neighbour, sharing what little they had out of necessity, as well as decency.
People with disabilities have abilities too and that is what this course is all about - making sure those abilities blossom and shine so that all the dreams you have can come true.
The last thing I would want to do is to create the impression that sectarianism came from only one side of the community.
We are a vibrant first-world country, but we have a humbling third-world memory.
It is absolutely no accident that the peace and reconciliation, and indeed the economic progress, that eluded us generation after generation for hundreds of years, has at last come to pass in an Ireland where the talents of women are now flooding every aspect of life as never before.
Whatever changes the new era brings, whatever new pathways we take, I am sure that our special relationship with America - forged in adversity, will not change.
The extent to which all people in our society are made to count, and believe that they count, is not just a measure of decency; it makes sound economic sense.
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