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President Michael D. Higgins
President Michael D. Higgins
Image: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

A St Patrick's Day message from the President

President Michael D Higgins gives his St Patrick’s day message today, where he says that in celebrating our Irishness, “we also remember that the Irish are an enterprising and resilient people”.
Mar 17th 2012, 6:30 AM 3,696 46

PRESIDENT OF IRELAND, Michael D Higgins, has given his best wishes to everyone celebrating St Patrick’s Day today.

In his message, he focuses on the positive attributes of Irish people and our culture, and pays tribute to those living around the world who share this culture.

He described St Patrick’s Day as “an opportunity for the global Irish family, wherever they are living, to joyously acknowledge our shared heritage and culture and to celebrate and make our commitment to an Irishness of which we all can be proud”.

Describing the life story of St Patrick as one of perseverance through adversity, generosity overcoming cruelty and a people being transformed through the power of spiritual idealism, he said:

Just as St Patrick brought a vision of hope and renewal to his people, we in our time have our own Aisling – our dream of a better, kinder, fairer shared world.

President Higgins said that in pursuing this dream, “we build on firm foundations and draw from old wisdoms”.

We Irish are a creative, resourceful, talented and warm people, with a firm sense of decency and justice. The natural strengths that have built and continue to enhance our reputation include our community spirit, social solidarity, rich culture, humanitarian and peace-keeping work abroad and our powerful bond with the global Irish family. The Irish are a diasporic people and we are both proud of what they have achieved in their adopted homelands and grateful for their continuing commitment to their homeland of birth or origin.

The President added that today is a day to think in particular “of those Irish men and women who, over recent years, have been separated from their homeland through involuntary emigration”.

While wishing them happy and fulfilled lives in their new countries, we firmly hope that economic circumstances will in time allow them to consider returning home to Ireland – to their families and friends who cherish them so dearly.

He also paid tribute to Irish culture and artistic expression, and said the fact they enjoy international appeal “enhances our sense of joy and pride”.

Even more joyful is that, in keeping with the inclusive and generous spirit of St Patrick, our celebrations accommodate all ages, all communities and all ethnicities. Our love for life and our sense of fun are also constants, as is our core value system that extols pride of place, community cohesion, intergenerational solidarity and an innate spirit of hope and optimism.

Given the tough times for many right now, President Higgins said that in celebrating our Irishness, we also remember that the Irish are an enterprising and resilient people.

While navigating very difficult economic conditions, we refuse to succumb to defeat or fatalism. This indefatigable spirit has in the past ensured our survival and is now a source of our creativity and purpose. It will again be a vital force in regenerating a sustainable economy, securing a fairer and happier society, renewing the Republic and making Ireland a country of which we can be even more proud.

Read: ‘Greening Tower of Pisa’ among latest landmarks turning green on March 17>

Read: Who’s leading your St Patrick’s Day parade this year?>

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Aoife Barry


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