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Last Updated: Friday, 27 July 2007, 10:33 GMT 11:33 UK
Taoiseach in Irish honours call
Bertie Ahern
Bertie Ahern says the Republic needs an honours system
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has again called for an honours system to be introduced in the Irish Republic.

Mr Ahern made the call at a reception in Dublin for golf hero Padraig Harrington, who won the British Open at Carnoustie on Sunday.

"We should have a way, a national way, of honouring not just stars, but people who make an enormous contribution to Irish life.

"The fact is we don't have that," the taoiseach said.

Recently a number of Irish citizens, including Bob Geldof, Bono and Terry Wogan, have been awarded in the British honours list.

On Friday, a spokesman for the taoiseach said Mr Ahern had "long been an advocate" of an Irish honours system and had considered bringing in legislation in 1997, but had failed to secure all-party agreement.

Padraig Harrington
The taoiseach paid tribute to Open champion Padraig Harrington

The spokesman said while nothing more was planned to move the issue forward, it could be raised again during the next session of the Dail.

He said any system would likely be modelled on those in existence in France and other republics.

Mr Ahern also paid tribute to Harrington - the first Irishman to win the Open in 60 years - during the reception at Government Buildings.

"We admired the brilliant, yet calm and calculating, way you played," the taosieach told the Dublin golfer.

"It truly was a privilege to watch you rise to the occasion in the climax to one of the finest British Opens in history."

Mr Ahern also praised the efforts of the leading amateur at the Open, 18-year-old Rory McIIroy from Holywood, Co Down.

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