Suu Kyi hails 'unforgettable' visit to Ireland

Aung San Suu Kyi says her visit to Ireland will be one of the "unforgettable" days of her life.

Aung San Suu Kyi says her visit to Ireland will be one of the "unforgettable" days of her life.

The Burmese pro-democracy leader completed her whistle-stop tour to Dublin at an open-air event in Grand Canal Plaza last night, where she was awarded the Freedom of Dublin City.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate also met President Michael D Higgins and U2 singer Bono, who presented her with Amnesty International's Ambassador of Conscience award.

Accepting her award at the Electric Burma concert at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre, she said she had found the whole experience "totally unexpected".

"To receive this award is to remind me that 24 years ago, I took on duties from which I have never been relieved," said Ms Suu Kyi.

"But you have given me the strength to carry them out. You have shown me that I shall never be alone as I go about my discharge of these duties."

Other recipients of the Amnesty award include former Irish President Mary Robinson and Nelson Mandela, with whom Ms Suu Kyi has been compared.

She had arrived in Ireland from Norway, where she was presented with her Nobel Peace Prize, 21 years after it was awarded to her in 1991.

She flew to the UK last night, where she will begin a four-day visit.

In 1988, Ms Suu Kyi returned to Burma to care for her dying mother, despite the fact mass demonstrations were breaking out against 25 years of military rule.

She became involved in the uprising and was appointed general secretary of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in September 1988, the month after up to 5,000 demonstrators were killed by the military.

Ms Suu Kyi was placed under detention by the military in 1989 and remained under house arrest until July 1995, facing restrictions on her movements when finally released.

Her husband died of prostate cancer in 1999 at the age of 53. He had asked Burmese authorities to grant him a visa to visit her one last time, but was refused.

Ms Suu Kyi had chosen not to join her family abroad, fearing she would never be allowed back into Burma if she did so. The last time the couple saw each other was at Christmas in 1995.

She was detained several more times before finally being freed in November 2010.

In by-elections held on April 1 this year she was elected to parliament for the constituency of Kawhmu following a landslide victory.

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