Former Irish President Mary McAleese has vowed to do everything she can to secure further recognition of Ulster-Scottish culture in the Republic of Ireland, archives have revealed.
According to an account of the exchange, Mrs McAleese’s promise was made to members of the Ulster and Scotland Office in 2001 at a reception at her official residence in Arras an Uachtaline, Dublin.
A record of the Nov. 11 reception is included in the Director’s report submitted to the agency’s Board of Directors.
Minutes of the agency’s 2001 board meeting are included in a newly released archive from the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland.
The Ulster and Scotland Agency was one of several cross-border bodies established under the Good Friday Agreement.
The Irish equivalent is Foras na Gaeilge.
The agency’s acting chief executive, Stan Mallon, and fellow executives were invited to a reception in Arras for all the cross-border entities established under the agreement.
Mr. Maron recalled his conversation with President McAleese.
“I have taken this opportunity to raise with the President the dilemma facing this agency in seeking to properly recognize the legitimacy and value of Ulster-Scottish culture in the Republic,” he wrote. .
“I told her that I believed that much could be done to ameliorate this problem, especially through the means of education.” I said that I would very much welcome the opportunity to meet with key decision-makers in education in the Republic to seek advice and guidance on how to implement it. I believe it would be most beneficial for such a meeting to be led by the Office of the President. I said I think so.
“She really listened to me and said she would do everything she could.”
Mallon also said he had a “more personal and lengthy discussion” on the topic with the president’s husband, Martin McAleese, at a reception afterwards.
“He is a personal friend of the Secretary of the Ministry of Education of the Republic and said that if I called him, he would definitely arrange such a meeting.
“I sent the necessary letter to Dr. McAleese. He called me the next day to acknowledge receipt and to expect a call from the department in the near future.”