PRESIDENT MICHAEL D HIGGINS has spoken of a “yearning for a new version of Irishness”.
His comment came during an address at the National Museum of Ireland to mark the conservation of the original Starry Plough Flag, once used by the Irish Citizen Army.
Higgins said that it was “no coincidence” that the flag was being restored at the same time as Ireland was “reassessing the values that define modern Irish society”.
Speaking of an Ireland “struggling to recover from the social costs of an economic model based on extreme individualism, driven by an acquisitive greed located in a property bubble and seduced by a false version of growth that delivered calamitous consequences”, Higgins said that the new Ireland would enable all its citizens to “fully participate in a flourishing society on the basis of equality”.
I believe we are in that process of transformational change – of reimagining Ireland in a more generous, inclusive and sustainable way and as part of a European Union built on similar values of solidarity and inclusion.
If we persevere in that journey of renewal, we may well reach the destination foretold by O’Casey in the “Plough and the Stars” where this flag can legitimately be used – because the political, economic and social inclusions of a New Republic are well and truly in place.