We were grateful for the attendance of An Taoiseach, and for his broad-ranging speech. From his acknowledgement of the Abbey Theatre’s role “as the torchbearer of the struggle for freedom…you helped ignite the cultural revival, and in doing so, you helped create our Irish state”, to his reiteration of the Government’s commitment of €80m towards a new building for the Abbey Theatre, which “will regenerate the surrounding areas and play a leading role in Dublin’s growing economy, both the night-time and the day-time economy; and bolster Ireland’s growing international reputation for culture” – it was an endorsement of what we are and will be as Ireland’s National Theatre.

“The Abbey Theatre has been tested many times over the past 12 decades…Each time, you have found new ways and better ways of doing things. In every generation, you have posed searching questions, and have inspired us to find our own answers. Great art tends to do that.” An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD

Read the full speech here.