Ambassador delighted to take up 'special' role
THE new Irish ambassador to Britain has formally commenced his posting with the presentation of his credentials to Queen Elizabeth II.
Dan Mulhall was received at Buckingham Palace where he became the 13th Irish ambassador to be greeted by the current British head of state.
Mr Mulhall -- a married father of two from Co Waterford -- will now play a key role in the arrangements for next year's "momentous" state visit by President Michael D Higgins, the first to be paid to Britain by an Irish president.
The 58-year-old, who took up ambassadorial duties in September, presented the queen with a letter from President Higgins and the Tanaiste, Eamon Gilmore, accrediting him as their representative.
He had a private meeting with her before a reception was held in his honour at the Irish Embassy at Grosvenor Place.
"It is an honour to represent Ireland anywhere in the world, but to be ambassador in London has a very special significance for us. This is a very special time to serve Ireland here," Ambassador Mulhall stated.
"British-Irish relations have probably never been stronger or more positive than they are today. Our shared success in delivering peace to Northern Ireland has lifted a burden from our relations and paved the way for the unique and developing partnership that exists today.
"This week marks the 20th anniversary of the Downing Street Declaration, the foundation stone of the Northern Ireland peace process," he said.
Mr Mulhall said the queen's state visit to Ireland in 2011 "was a great milestone for ties between our two countries", adding she "was received with genuine warmth in Ireland".
The queen "made a hugely positive impression".
Mr Mulhall was Irish ambassador to Malaysia and Germany before taking up his new role.