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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 June 2007, 10:36 GMT 11:36 UK
Irish honour Blair at university
Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern
Ahern said Blair's contribution to the peace process was "immense"
Tony Blair's contribution to peace in Northern Ireland is to be marked by a specially-funded professorship in his honour at the University of Liverpool.

The 5m "Blair Chair" has been created and funded by the Irish government.

It will be established at the university's much-lauded Institute of Irish Studies.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said: "It is a fitting way to mark Blair's immense and historic contribution in helping bring peace to Ireland."

The Institute of Irish Studies, founded in 1988, has played a key role in developing peace initiatives in Northern Ireland and has worked closely with British and Irish Governments during the peace process.

The funding will allow for several postgraduate studentships and an undergraduate programme in British and Irish Politics to be launched next year.

Blair and Ahern signing the Good Friday Agreement
It is a contribution that will be remembered by Irish people all over the world for as long as the history of our country is read and written
Bertie Ahern, Irish PM

Institute researchers and students will also develop outreach work in Ireland and elsewhere on various peace-building programmes within communities experiencing conflict.

Director of the Institute Professor Marianne Elliott said: "The Blair Chair is a dual testament to the contributions of both the Prime Minister and the Institute in promoting greater understanding between the people of Britain and Ireland.

"The endowment will enable us to build on the work we have carried out in Ireland over the past 20 years and introduce our knowledge to other countries with similar issues.

Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern added: "It is a contribution that will be remembered by Irish people all over the world for as long as the history of our country is read and written.

"The endowment of 5m also recognises the importance of Irish Studies internationally and the achievements to date of the Institute of Irish Studies in Liverpool, a city that has so many links with Ireland."





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