Riigikogu speaker attends Irish parliament centenary

Speaker of the Riigikogu Eiki Nestor (SDE).
Speaker of the Riigikogu Eiki Nestor (SDE). Source: Kairit Leibold/ERR

President of the Riigikogu Eiki Nestor (SDE) is attending a special centenary sitting of Dáil Éireann, the parliament of the Republic of Ireland, in Dublin on Monday.

Mr Nestor, whose role amongst other things encompasses being speaker of the Riigikogu, said celebrating the Dáil's 100th anniversary shows that parliamentary democracy has justified itself in providing the functioning of the state.

"A parliament elected by the people sometimes works slower than we would like, but it takes into consideration diverse positions and opinions, and searches for compromises," Mr Nestor said, according to a Riigikogu press release.

Mr Nestor also highlighted that the Dáil and the Riigikogu were both celebrating centenaries this year – with the Riigikogu's following in April.

Irish-Estonian relations strong

"One hundred years is a long time in a human's life, but as countries, we are still young, and we both still have to learn and develop," he said.

Mr Nestor also emphasised that Estonian-Irish continue to flourish.

"Estonia has supported and will also support in the future Ireland's positions at Brexit negotiations, together with those of other member states of the European Union," he continued.

In January 1919, the majority of Irish MPs, predominantly from Sinn Féin, elected to the UK House of Commons in the 1918 general election, refused to take up their seats, founding Dáil Éireann instead. That First Dáil was in fact only recognised internationally by the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, ie. Bolshevik Russia, which also signed the Treaty of Tartu with Estonia the following year.

The First Dáil met for the first time on 21 January 1919, with Cathal Brugha  as president, and Éamon de Valera as president of the Irish Republic. It unilaterally adopted the Declaration of Independence and proclaimed the Irish Republic.

After being driven underground with the ensuing Irish War of Independence, the Second Dáil, shortly followed by the Third Dáil of the Irish Free State, declared in 1922 following a peace treaty signed with Britain in 1921.

The special sitting dedicated to the 100th anniversary of Éireann Mr Nestor is attending is being held in the Round Room at the Mansion House in Dublin, where the First Dáil sat.

April 23, 2019, 100 years since the opening session of the Estonian Constituent Assembly, will represent the centenary of the Estonian Parliament. Toompea castle has been the home of the Riigikogu, which was disbanded during the first Soviet occupation (1940–41), the Nazi occupation (1941–44) and the second Soviet occupation (1944–1991), through to Estonia's independence.

Mr Nestor met his Irish counterpart,  Ceann Comhairle of the Dáil Éireann, Seán Ó Fearghaíl (Fianna Fáil) last September. Tánaiste Simon Coveney (Fine Gael), effectively deputy head of the Irish Government, visited Tallinn a few days later.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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