The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan was honoured with a civic reception hosted by Laois County Council last night.
First elected to the Dail on February 17, 1987 the civic reception drew on all strands of a public life spanning 30 years.
In attendance was the Minister's family, as well as a number of relations and colleagues from the political and legal worlds.
Cross party tributes were paid to the Minister across the Council floor.
In his address, Minister Flanagan said he couldn’t think of better values than those instilled into him by his father Oliver J Flanagan.
Politics were becoming less stable, the Minister noted. There was gratuitous abuse. And there was populism where simple answers were given to very difficult and complex problems.
He insisted: “We need to stand up for values and freedom of expression - to be tolerant. It behoves us all to be vigilant. To quote Thomas Jefferson, vigilance is the price of freedom.
“We should not lose sight of that. We need to reaffirm and remind ourselves that the European Union was set up after the ravages of two world wars in which millions of people died. I am a committed European. I always have been.”
Minister Flanagan said Ireland was little more than an economic backwater 50 years ago. Now it was one of the world’s top 10 developed nations.
Speaking of the civic reception, he stated: “I regard this as a huge honour and a great privilege for me and my family.”
He added: “I feel very proud of my county, very proud of having had the opportunity to serve on Mountmellick Town Council and the County Council.”