Drew Nelson, the Grand Secretary of the Orange Order  will become the first representative of his organization to speak to the Seanad in Dublin.

Nelson will come to Dublin on July 3 to speak to the Senators at Leinster House. He sees the invitation as a mark of the progress made in North/South relations.

“I think it is not too strong to say that even 10 years ago the door would not have been open to us,” he said according to the News Letter.

“I think it is a sign of changes, mainly in the attitude of the government in the Republic, for this invitation to be issued.

“It is almost unthinkable that this invite would have been issued up until a few years ago, and it shows how society is changing in the Republic.”

Senator Maurice Gibbons, head of the Irish Senate, said the visit represents another important step in fostering strong ties.

“The address will be both momentous and timely and proves that we have all moved forward in our ideas and ideals since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement," he said, according to the Press Association.

"Seanad Eireann was established in 1922 to represent all the views of the people on the island of Ireland and I cannot think of a more appropriate person to be invited to address us at this time."

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