Thursday, February 19, 2015

Ireland 2015
50th Anniversary of the meeting of Seán Lemass and Terence O'Neill

 :: THEME: Seán Lemass and Terence O'Neill meeting anniversary
  :: NOMINAL VALUE: 0.68 €
   :: ISSUE DATE: 22 January 2015
    :: DESIGN:  Red & Grey Design

On the 22nd of January 2015, An Post issued a commemorative stamp marking 50 years since the meeting of Seán Lemass and Terence O’Neill, perhaps the first politicians to discuss peace in Northern Ireland.

Terence O'Neill and Seán Lemass held cordial but discrete meetings with each other in 1965. The first meeting took place in January in the utmost of secrecy and was a brave new departure in North-South co-operation, a truly historic meeting that began a thaw in relations between the two states. A return meeting took place in Dublin in February.

Seán Francis Lemass (1899 –1971) (left) was Taoiseach from 1959 until 1966 and one of the most important Irish politicians of the 20th century. History hails Lemass as the father of modern Ireland, primarily due to his success in facilitating industrial growth, attracting foreign direct investment and forging permanent links between Ireland and the European community.

Terence O'Neill (right) is remembered as the first unionist leader to introduce reforms that would have been unheard-of under previous Northern Ireland Prime Ministers. By 1965, the IRA had been running an unsuccessful border terror campaign. While Sean Leamss came from a staunch republican background that rejected partition, he began to moderate that view as Taoiseach, recognising that unification of North and South was unlikely to happen soon. O’Neill was Prime Minister and held an equally pragmatic outlook and, in 1965, he was the first leader to invite an Irish Taoiseach to Stormont.

The importance of the meetings and the contributions of both Terrence O’Neill and Seán Lemass cannot be understated. Their co-operation heralded a new era of optimism, although hard-line northern unionists continued to oppose any dealings with the Republic. 

The stamp, designed by Red & Grey Design in Dublin, features an image of Seán Lemass and Terence O’Neill with Stormont in the background.

ISSUE DATE: 22 January 2015
STAMP DESIGN: Red & Grey Design
STAMP SIZE: 51.46mm x 30mm
COLOUR: Single colour with phosphor tagging
LAYOUT: Sheetlets of 16
PRINTER: Irish Security Stamp Printing Ltd.
An Post PRODUCT No.: 150268