An interesting, albeit rare, event in the world of parliamentary reporting involves the reception of a foreign dignitary in one of the Houses or at a joint sitting of both.
While many foreign dignitaries are welcomed each year to the visitors’ galleries, it is rare that they make an address to Members in one of the Chambers. When such addresses are made, they are usually by Heads of State or Government and tend to cover topics such as shared cultural and economic values, the contribution made by the Irish abroad and the peace process in Northern Ireland. These speeches are usually scripted but are treated by parliamentary reporters in largely the same way as contributions of Members of the Oireachtas. Care is exercised in ensuring such speeches are reported in a way that reflects their tone and historical value and that does not detract from the sense of occasion.