Read the full text of President Mary McAleese's remarks on her landmark visit to Brakey Orange Hall, Bailieborough, Co Cavan.

It was the first visit by an Irish head of state to an Orange hall.

'We live in a time of amazing flux. Some of it makes us anxious, uneasy and uncertain, like the huge changes taking place in the global and local financial markets. Some of it makes us hopeful that past divisions within our communities and on our island can be healed and a new culture emerge which is respectful of the otherness of the other.

There are things happening among us and within us which are impacting in very positive and reassuring ways. We are fortunate to have been witnesses to things that seemed very unlikely just a short time ago. We have seen Ian Paisley sit down as an equal partner in government with Martin McGuinness. We have heard him describe former Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern as his friend. In those events he did more for reconciliation on this island than libraries of PhDs in conflict resolution.

Now Dr Paisley's successor Peter Robinson is carrying on that torch as, along with Martin McGuinness and their colleagues in Government, they deepen that partnership for the betterment of all the people of Northern Ireland. We know they face many challenges but we wish them well for, despite the economic malaise, we can feel a new momentum carrying us all to better, more neighbourly times.

There are signs large and small of new connections, a new spirit of trust and generosity. In Westport earlier this week, we had the extraordinary scenes at the funeral of Robert McKibben, a young local man, killed in service with the British Army as a member of the Royal Marines in Afghanistan. He received a beautifully dignified funeral in his own town in the West of Ireland, his coffin carried by six uniformed colleagues from the Royal Marines and thousands of his townsmen and women there to show their sorrow and respect.

And in this month of November 2008, we mark the 90th Anniversary of the ending of the Great War with commemorations in both parts of the island as we remember the thousands, from both parts of the island and both major traditions, and none, who gave their lives in that terrible slaughter. One of the centrepieces of the acts of remembrance has been a flagship radio series and book jointly produced by the Royal Irish Academy and RTÉ called, poignantly and tellingly, 'Our War', for 200,000 of our people served in that war and almost 50,000 gave their lives.

Here this morning, in the presence of Henry Latimer, a good Cavan man, a good Irish man and a good Orangeman, many of these strands come together. Perhaps here in Brakey Orange Hall this morning it's a good time and place to acknowledge how far we have come in the last 10 years, since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement and to pledge that the journey of peace-building and peace-making will and must continue. We have taken the first important steps towards ending the bitter culture of Either-Or, of Them Versus Us.

Now we must build a new culture of Both, each accepting that there are different perspectives and practices, each patient with the other as we get to know each other better in a growing spirit of understanding and outreach. It is possible to be both Irish and British, possible to be both Orange and Irish. We face into a landscape of new possibilities and understandings. The momentum of these times is, of course, difficult for some and so they lash out in intemperate acts of vandalism that have been visited on some Orange Halls, including Brakey.

Such acts are a throw-back to another time, and we condemn them utterly and unequivocally. The tit-for-tat that is visited on GAA clubs just brings it home to us how utterly wasteful and humanly tragic are these episodes and what a waste of the lives of those who can see no further than such vandalism. I invite them all to stop and think how wonderfully transformed all our lives would be if we were all made as welcome in each other's home as I have been made welcome here.

So I thank you Henry Latimer and your colleagues here in Brakey for welcoming your President this day and allowing me to say in the poignant words of Tom Kettle, a nationalist who was killed in the great War, in his poem 'Cancel the Past',

'Bound, from the toil of hate we may not cease
Free, we are free to be your friend'.