Dublin, 10 February 2017: European Movement (EM) Ireland extends sincerest congratulations to its Vice-Chair, Ms Jillian van Turnhout, on being awarded the prestigious Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite by the President of the French Republic. The Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite is the second highest national order of France and was presented to Ms van Turnhout by the Ambassador of France to Ireland last night at an event hosted in the French Residence in Dublin.
Mr Maurice Pratt, Chairman of EM Ireland, commenting on the distinguished honour, said “There are few people more deserving of this award than Jillian. Having worked closely with Jillian, I have seen her tireless dedication to the causes she champions, including Irish-European affairs and children’s rights. It is a pleasure to see her being recognised for her outstanding contribution to developing Irish-European relations, and Irish-French relations in particular. I offer her my sincere congratulations on this well-deserved honour.”
At the event in the French Residence last night, the Ambassador of France to Ireland, H.E. Jean-Pierre Thébault, remarked that “with the bestowal of the Ordre National du Mérite to Ms Jillian van Turnhout, France wishes to acknowledge a friend’s lifetime commitment and the part she played on numerous subjects that require flag bearers: from issues related to children’s rights to the promotion of the European ideal. Jillian’s public and professional paths are also testament to the important role women play in public life to make change happen and shape a better and more inclusive society.”
On receipt of the Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite, Ms van Turnhout said “I am immensely honoured to be recognised by the President of the French Republic for my work in promoting children’s rights and for my engagement with civil society organisations across Europe. Recent world events have strengthened my resolve and belief in the European Union project and to advocate for a Europe that is stronger together. This award and the French national motto of ‘liberty, equality, fraternity’ remind me of our shared values. We must work together in solidarity to uphold and ensure the rights of all citizens to live without fear in a world that respects freedom, democracy and equality.”