The following is the full text of the address given by Taoiseach Enda Kenny at Dublin Castle today for the inauguration of Michael D Higgins as the ninth President of Ireland.
Today, we inaugurate the ninth President of Ireland. Uachtarán na hÉireann… Michael Daniel Higgins.
Through his long years in the service of our people in the name of democracy, for the good our country, he has given truth to the Irish saying, Ní uaisleacht gan subhailce. There is no nobility without virtue.
Michael D Higgins is indeed a noble man of quiet virtue who will bring that nobility of heart and mind and spirit to the office of the President to all his endeavours in the name of Ireland and the Irish people. His authenticity as poet, philosopher, patriot and policitian, as a democrat, republican, husband, father will resonate across this country and around the world.
A real Republican at the head of his greatly-desired ‘real Republic’, by his own declaration, Michael D Higgins will be a President of healing and transformation. And if it’s true what they say – that a wound heals from the margins in – then our new President will be a powerful healer.
Because he has fought for the marginalised, supported the marginalised, been the voice of the marginalised throughout his public life. And today he is the centre, he is our President with a powerful mandate of over a million people throughout this island with the warm good wishes of 70 million members of our Diaspora throughout the world. Indeed a ‘President for all the people’.
During his tenure Ireland will mark the centenary of various versions of what and who we have been… The Lock-Out, the Easter Rising, the First World War, the Battle of the Somme. President Higgins is eminently suited to oversee the commemoration of these events and their legacy.
And as he takes Office, he holds not just our hearts but our hopes and our dreams. Indeed, a particular dream that saw our people reject a particular idea of wealth, the caisleán gortach – the famished castle – with its cardboard crenellations.
To embrace instead the idea, the possibility of comhluadar, a modern meitheal, our building of that ‘real republic’, real community of what it is, and what it means to be, Irish.
A Republic and its people, defined not by greed or power or wealth but by the quieter, deeper, more authentic elements: Of respect, virtue, of love and duty to our country and to each other as together we take on the difficult task of national recovery, national renewal.
It would be remiss of me if I were not to recognise the outstanding and extraordinary contribution of President Mary McAleese, a President who brought such warmth, dignity and grace to that office and to the people.
I know she will join with me in wishing the ninth President of Ireland the best as he, in his way, further deepens the appreciation of the Uachtarántacht.
Today, the Áras will have a new family. Michael D, Sabina, Alice Mary, Michael Junior, John and Daniel.
Today, Ireland has a new President, Michael D Higgins, to whom I wish every luck and joy, every health and happiness, in his work and in his tenure of office.
Tá fear ón Iarthar taghta chun chinn. Ráth Dé ort san am atá le teacht. Go nEirí leat a uachtaráin.
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