Ban Ki-moon praises Ireland as he accepts Tipperary Peace Award
United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon has praised Ireland as a "dynamic member" of the Human Rights Council.
As he was honoured with the Tipperary International Peace Award last night, Mr Ban said that Ireland sent a message to the world with its referendum on same-sex marriage.
"This is a truly historic moment," he said, adding: "The result sends an important message to the world."
Previous recipients of the peace award include Nelson Mandela, Bob Geldof, Mary McAleese and, in 2013, the Pakistani schoolgirl and activist Malala Yousafzai, who survived being shot by a Taliban gunman for going to school.
Mr Ban received the award at an event in Tipperary where he also met some UN peacekeeping veterans.
Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan paid tribute to the UN secretary-general for his leadership.
"The secretary-general has steered the United Nations with firm leadership and good grace, and remained committed to the very core principles that the United Nations represents: peace, development and human rights," he said.
It is the first of the UN chief's engagements in Ireland over the next two days, including a keynote address in Dublin tonight which will touch on Ireland's role in international peacekeeping and the migrant and refugee crisis in Syria and the Mediterranean.
Martin Quinn, honorary secretary of the Tipperary International Peace Award, said Mr Ban was being honoured for his work on climate change, a new development agenda and the response to conflicts and natural disasters.