On behalf of Ireland, one of the oldest and yet one of the youngest nations, and
speaking for the Irish Government and the Irish Delegation, I thank this
Assembly of the League of Nations for the unanimous courtesy and readiness
with which our application to be admitted to membership of the League has
been received and approved.
Ireland, in ancient times linked by bonds of culture and of friendly
intercourse with every nation to which the ambit of travel could carry her farventuring
missionaries and men of learning has to-day formally, yet none the
less practically, entered into a new bond of union with her sister nations, great
and small, who are represented in this magnificent world-concourse.
With all the nations whose spokesmen form this Assembly, Ireland joins today
in a solemn covenant to exercise the powers of her sovereign status in
promoting the peace, security and happiness, the economic, cultural, and moral
well-being of the human race.
Lofty ideals have inspired the best minds who have faith in the power of
good will and of joint international endeavour to operate for good through
this Council of the Nations. It is our earnest desire to co-operate with our fellowmembers
in every effort calculated to give effect to those ideals - to mitigate,
and whenever possible, to avert the ancient evils of warfare and oppression; to
encourage wholesome and to discourage unwholesome relations between
nation and nation; to enable even the weakest of nations to live their own lives
and make their own proper contribution to the good of all, free even from the
shadow and the fear of external violence, vicious penetration, or injurious
pressure of any kind.
In the actual proceedings which we have witnessed, we have seen a keen
appreciation of the fact that nations are interdependent in matters of economic
and intellectual development. We hope that the means of closer intercourse
provided or initiated through the League of Nations will be helpful to the
economic and educational progress for which Ireland is looking forward and
We willingly testify that the advocacy of these ideals has strongly attracted
us towards the League of Nations, and if as yet the means provided have not
always proved fully effective to secure their worthy ends, we are mindful of
our national proverb, 'Bíonn gach tosnú lag' ('every beginning is weak'), and
we trust that in time to come, adequate means and faithful use of them will
justify our common hopes. Our history and the instinct of our hearts forbid us
to think that temporary or even recurrent failures can deprive a just and
steadfast purpose of the assurance of success.
Ireland counts on having no enemy and on harbouring no enmity in the
time to come. She counts also on bringing forth fruits worthy of liberty. Si tollis
libertatem, tollis dignitatem. These are the words of a famous Irishman of the
sixth and seventh century. Inscribed on his tomb at Bobbio in Italy, they met
our eyes when, a few days ago, a happy conjuncture enabled the members of
this Irish Delegation to assist at the celebration of the thirteenth centenary of
Saint Columbanus, pioneer of Ireland's moral and intellectual mission among
the nations of Western Europe.
We shall return to our own country to take part with our own patriotic
people in the enormous work of national construction and consolidation. The
kind welcome, the cordial words of understanding, that have greeted us here
on the part of every nation whose representatives we have met, will not be
forgotten. They will cheer and sustain us in that work, and they will remind
us, too, that as the life of a man is bettered and fructified beyond measure in
the harmonious society of men, so must the life of nations reach a much fuller
liberty and a much fuller dignity in the harmonious society of nations.