Prime Minister of Ireland and Emeritus Professor to receive honorary degrees from the University of

Prime Minister of Ireland and Emeritus Professor to receive honorary degrees from the University of

Prime Minister of Ireland and Emeritus Professor to receive honorary degrees from the University of Aberdeen

The Irish Premier, Bertie Ahern T.D., will be among those to be honoured by the University of Aberdeen at its graduation ceremonies today (Friday, July 9). He will be receiving an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD) at this morning's 11.00am ceremony.

In addition, Professor Sir George Radda, Emeritus Professor of Molecular Cardiology at the University Laboratory of Physiology Cardiac Science Centre, University of Oxford and former Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council will also be collecting an honorary degree of Doctor in Science (DSc) at this afternoon's 3.00pm ceremony.

In all, the University will have awarded honorary doctorates to 11 leading figures in the arts, science, medicine, government, politics and industry in this year's graduation ceremonies at Marischal College throughout this week, Monday July 5 - Friday .

Recipients today include:

Friday 9th July at 11.00am

Bertie Ahern, Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland (Degree of LLD): Bertie Ahern negotiated and signed the Good Friday Agreement in April 1998 - an historic settlement between all the great traditions on the island of Ireland - and he has worked tirelessly to secure its full implementation. Mr Ahern entered the Dáil Éireann in the Fianna Fáil landslide victory of 1977. He held various opposition front bench appointments in the mid-1980s before entering cabinet as Minister for Labour on the return of Fianna Fáil to government in 1987. A member of Dublin City Council from 1979-1991, he was elected Lord Mayor in 1986. He was promoted Minister for Finance under Albert Reynolds in November 1991 and succeeded Mr Reynolds as leader of Fianna Fáil in 1994. Mr Ahern became Taoiseach in 1997.

Whilst giving his graduation address Mr Ahern said that it was with great pride that he was accepting his honorary degree from one of Scotland's oldest institutions of learning. He said: "I was delighted to accept this honour because I am very conscious of the importance which the University of Aberdeen attaches to links between Ireland and Scotland.

"Constitutional change and reconciliation in Ireland; devolution in Scotland; and the transformation of the Irish economy, have contributed to the rebirth of Scottish-Irish relations in recent times.

"I have always believed that Scotland has an important role to play in building bridges of reconciliation across political or sectarian divides. Scots have a unique position and unique historical links with Ireland, North and South. Our relations have also strengthened and deepened through our mutual membership of the British-Irish Council, which was established under the Good Friday Agreement. I believe this great university shares our views and is committed to facilitating the building of new ties crucial for the future of our two countries in the 21st century."

Friday 9th July at 3.00pm

Professor Sir George Radda CBE, FRS, Former Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council (Degree of DSc): Sir George Radda is Emeritus Professor of Molecular Cardiology at the University Laboratory of Physiology Cardiac Science Centre, University of Oxford. Previously he was Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council (MRC) from 1996 until his retirement in September 2003. Sir George was Head of the Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford, from 1991 to 1996. In 2001 he became the first Chairman of the newly formed National Cancer Research Institute.

Speaking at today's ceremony, Professor Sir George Radda, said that it was a great privilege to have received this honorary doctorate from this distinguished and historic university in Scotland.

Addressing the graduates, he said: "You will be starting in medicine at its most exciting but also challenging period in its whole history. You should be proud of what you have achieved to enter the world of 21st Century medicine (and I am sure that your friends and relatives are proud of that) but also excited by the opportunities while taking the responsibilities you will carry for the future of our society and the health of the nation as well as for global health with the utmost seriousness."

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