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When I heard the sad news of Ian Paisley’s death, my mind slipped back to May 2008, and to the day when I stepped down as Taoiseach. I will remember that day for many reasons, but one of the most cherished memories was that morning walking the battlefield in the Boyne Valley with Dr Ian Paisley.

I believe that meeting was symbolic of the new Ireland which it has been my life’s work in politics to create.

In past centuries Irishmen had fought and killed each other on that very field over disputes grounded in religion and Ireland’s relationship with Britain.

When I walked that same field as Taoiseach with Ian, then first minister of Northern Ireland, we spoke of the possibilities and the progress that an island at peace could bring for all its people. That was a day to be proud of, and it was one that underlined how much the island of Ireland had moved on from the old enmities of the past.

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