Famous signature for happy supporter
FOR Aung Zaw Min it was quite simply a dream to meet the woman who has battled to bring democracy and human rights to his native Burma.
Pointing to Aung San Suu Kyi's signature snaking over the shoulder of his white T-shirt, the delighted 35-year-old, who moved to Ireland in 2001 to work, said: "I'm from Rangoon, now Yangon in Burma. It meant a lot to me, it was a dream. I didn't think I would meet Aung San Suu Kyi in Dublin and for it to suddenly happen. She signed on my shirt. That is me at my happiest ever."
Many of the more than 150-strong Burmese community in Ireland had gathered at every stage of her brief visit to catch a brief glimpse of the political leader who had spent 15 years under house arrest in Burma.
Some had gathered at Dublin Airport, where she was met by Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore as she touched down for a six-hour visit. Mr Gilmore said that Ireland would accredit a non-resident ambassador to Burma and pledged to continue to support Ms Suu Kyi's efforts for democracy.
More watched as the cavalcade drove through the gates of Aras an Uachtarain as Ms Suu Kyi, who turns 67 tomorrow, was greeted by President Michael D Higgins, signed the guest book, and briefly met Bishop John Kirby, chair of Trocaire and Hugh Baxter of Burma Action Ireland group.
Ms Suu Kyi then joined U2's Bono and Bob Geldof for a special tribute concert where she was presented with Amnesty International's Ambassador of Conscience award. She then addressed thousands of supporters in the square outside Bord Gais Energy Theatre before receiving the freedom of Dublin City -- 12 years after she was awarded the honour. She then departed for a four-day visit to Britain.