7 June 2012

Ulster Unionist, Mike Nesbitt, is to become the first leader of a unionist party to speak at Leinster House, the home of the Irish parliament.

He is due in Dublin on Thursday to address a group of cross party politicians on the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.

He is expected to say NI needs a single education system and politicians need to do more to create a shared society.

He will also discuss the Queen’s first state visit to the Republic last year.


It is understood Mr Nesbitt will describe the Queen’s Irish tour as “one of the greatest acts of leadership I have ever seen – and an example to us all that you can do these things without compromise to your own identity, your heritage and your belief systems”.

During her four-day state visit last year, the Queen laid a wreath at Dublin’s Garden of Remembrance in memory of Irish rebels who died fighting against British forces for Irish independence.

She also visited Croke Park – the headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) and the scene of the original Bloody Sunday massacre in 1920, when British forces opened fire during a match, killing 14 people.

The UUP leader is due to appear before the joint Oireachtas committee in Leinster House.

Mr Nesbitt, a former UTV presenter and victims commissioner, was first selected as a UUP election candidate in 2010.

He was elected leader of the party in March.