The President of Tynwald, the Hon Steve Rodan MLC, has returned from Reykjavik after representing the Isle of Man at the Union Treaty centenary celebrations of the Althing, the Parliament of Iceland.
The Union Treaty between Iceland and Denmark saw Iceland become a sovereign state and was signed by representatives of the Althing and the Folketing, the Danish Parliament, on July 18, 1918. The centenary of its signing was commemorated on July 18 2018, with a celebratory session of the Althing at Thingvellir, Iceland’s ancient parliamentary site, in the afternoon followed by a banquet in Reykjavik in the evening.
Mr President, who attended the celebrations at the invitation of the Speaker of the Althing, Mr Steingrímur J. Sigfússon, said: ‘It was an honour to be invited to the centenary celebrations of Iceland ‘s independence from Denmark as a sovereign state.
‘The special open-air sitting of their parliament, the Althing, took place at Thingvellir - where they first sat over 1000 years ago and which is now a spectacular national park - was watched by many hundreds.
‘Addressed by the President of Iceland and the Speaker of the Danish Parliament, guests assembled at the foot of a mound at the end of a long processional way, reminding me of Tynwald Day at St John’s and our common Norse origins.
‘It was interesting to meet Iceland officials who had been to Tynwald Day in years past. At a separate meeting with the Speaker of the Althing I presented on behalf of Tynwald and the people of Isle of Man a framed greeting, illustrated by Colleen Corlett. Mr Speaker is keen to renew historic links between our two nations with common parliamentary traditions and I hope he will attend Tynwald Day. As a former finance minister he oversaw Iceland‘s economic recovery from the banking crisis and Iceland is now a dynamic and fast-growing economy, with huge recent growth in tourism attracting an impressive two million plus visitors a year.
‘I also had the opportunity to meet all the Speakers from Nordic countries and various foreign ambassadors as it is important that the Isle of Man forge new links of its own post- Brexit.’
Mr President’s accommodation expenses while attending the celebrations were met by the Althing, his travel costs by the Clerk of Tynwald’s Office.