A solemn and dignified occasion in Dublin's Mansion House as the political leaders of today paid tribute to those who met here in 1919 for the first meeting of the Dáil.

David McCullagh reports on the commemoration of the first meeting of the Dáil ninety years ago.

A solemn and dignified occasion in Dublin's Mansion House this morning, as the political leaders of today paid tribute to those who met here in 1919 for the first meeting of the Dáil.

Former Taoisigh, members of the judiciary, and relatives of the members of the First Dáil attended this joint sitting of the Oireachtas, ninety years after the Sinn Féin TDs elected a month before established a separate Irish parliament and declared independence.

That first meeting also sent a message to the world seeking international support - the Taoiseach said the lack of response to that plea had a message for Ireland today.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen addressing the gathering says, "That Ireland learned early that the world can be a lonely place for small states. This lesson is as valid today in the depths of a global econmoic crisis as it was in 1919."

David McCullagh continues his report, "Fine Gael also drew lessons for today from the first Dáil 1919 - in particular, the need for the Government to be accountable to the Oireachtas."

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny, speaking says, "If one thing is clear at this time it is that we need a Dáil as envisaged by the men and women of 1919. A Dáil which is at the centre of our politics not one at the periphary of events."

David McCullagh continues, "Labour too said the First Dáil could give politicians today an example."

Eamon Gilmore leader of the Labour Party says, "We can take heart, from the pioneers who assembled here 90 years we too can make a new beginning."

David McCullagh continues, "Other party leaders also paid tribute to the First Dáil, while Ceann Comhairle John O'Donoghue spoke of the need to make politics, and parliament, more accessible and relevant to the public."