Initiated through the agency of H.E. Michael Wadsworth, Canadian Ambassador to Ireland at the time, the Ireland Canada University Foundation (ICUF) was established in 1993 by by Prof. John Kelly, Dr. Craig Dobbin OC, and former President of Ireland, Dr. Patrick Hillery.
In establishing the ICUF, it was recognised that Canada and Ireland share a great history, and there are many links between both countries, but for such a connection to sustain and grow for future generations, efforts must continue to be made to support the development of new links between both countries.
The historic link and shared traditions cannot be overestimated. At the time of Canadian Confederation in 1867, the Irish ethnic group was second only to the French Canadians in terms of numbers, and close and enduring links have been established on that basis.
Relations between Ireland and Canada are underpinned by substantial trade and investment flows, and by a shared commitment to democracy and human rights. Other issues including the question of language rights, the acknowledgment of respective identities and the requirements of differing traditions are common to both our countries.
Historically, many political and social events and personalities have contributed to these trans-Atlantic bonds. The Ontario school system, for example, was developed upon the model of the Irish National School system.
It is also important to note that it was in Ottawa in 1948 that the then Taoiseach (Prime Minister) John A. Costello, announced the intention to declare the Irish State a republic. Later that same year the Republic of Ireland Act was passed by the Oireachtas (Legislature).