East Derry SDLP Assembly Member John Dallat, who is retiring from politics, was among those invited by the Irish Government to attend the Commemoration of the Easter Rising in Dublin on Sunday.
The veteran politician said it was his “last official duty in a political life spanning 39 years and it was a very special occasion”.
“The Commemoration at the GPO and other events were truly measured and reflective and took into account the complexity of historical events and their legacy,” said Mr Dallat. “In every way the events acknowledged the multiple identities and traditions which are part of the overall story and of the different ideals and sacrifices associated with them. The Irish Government went to extra-ordinary lengths, within reason to be inclusive and non-partisan without abandoning its loyalties and I believe achieved that with a very high level of success. Let me hope that in the years ahead and by agreement the political progress made in recent years through the Good Friday Agreement can continue and all the people of Ireland will at last be united not just as a piece of land but as a people.”