- Légion d’Honneur is the highest order France can bestow
- IIEA Founder says “these are dangerous times that threaten democracies”
IIEA Founder and Chairman Brendan Halligan has this week been awarded the Légion d’Honneur, France’s highest decoration and one of the world’s most widely recognised honours.Instituted by Napoleon in 1802, the Légion d’Honneur rewards both military and civilian merit in those who have upheld the ideals of the French Republic. Past recipients have included Dr. Michael Somers, former Chief Executive of the National Treasury Management Agency and Sean O’Driscoll, Chairman and CEO of Glen Dimplex.
Mr. Halligan, who founded the IIEA in 1990 as an independent think tank and research institute, was presented with the award by the French Ambassador, Jean-Pierre Thébault, at a ceremony at the Ambassador’s residence in Dublin.Speaking at the event, Mr. Halligan thanked the French government for its recognition of the Institute’s work, and said that it had been founded with the purpose of supporting “the process of continuous construction” begun by Jean Monnet and Robert Schuman.
“When I was born, nineteen of the counties now in the European Union were either dictatorships, occupied territories or colonies. Today, all nineteen are self governing democracies.Since it began sixty-five years ago, the EU has succeeded in bringing together 550 million Europeans in an unprecedented experiment of living in harmony with each other.[But] there is no precedent to follow, no exemplar to copy and no guarantee that what has been achieved will endure for the next sixty-five years, or beyond.These are dangerous times that threaten democracies. The extremes of left and right make common cause in trying to tear down what has so far been built up. The price of liberty, we know, is eternal vigilance, and active participation in daily life.
That is why, twenty-five years ago, the Institute of European Affairs was established; to contribute our thinking as a people to the common effort of constructing Europe.”
The ceremony took place on Tuesday 19 April 2016.
The Institute of International and European Affairs is Ireland’s leading independent think tank and policy research institute. It acts as a forum, bringing together stakeholders to discuss issues ofnational, European and international significance.