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Dublin: 3 °C Monday 21 January, 2019
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Michael D Higgins' message for the homeless as he lights Áras Christmas tree

The president singled out the homeless and those in direct provision in his address.

Image: RollingNews.ie

PRESIDENT MICHAEL D Higgins has lit the Áras Christmas tree and said his thoughts are with the homeless and the bereaved this year. 

Speaking alongside his wife Sabina, President Higgins urged people to be aware of those less fortunate than them and those who have been recently bereaved. 

Addressing an assembled crowd at the Áras, President Higgins said: “As we enjoy the warm glow of Christmas that lights up the darkness of mid-winter it is important that we remember that Christmas can also be a very sad time of year; a time when people can feel especially lonely or sad or under pressure.

“Some people may be mourning the loss of a loved one, some people are far away from home and are probably missing their family. Others are without the security of a home and will wake up on Christmas morning in shelters, in cramped rooms or even out on the bitterly cold streets.”

President Higgins then used his speech to send a message to all those who are homeless in Ireland, especially the children and those caught in the direct provision system.

He added: “We call to mind in a special way all the children in temporary shelter or in hotel rooms for whom we must care at this time.

“And so this evening, as we light the Christmas tree in Áras an Uachtaráin, let us remember all of the people for whom it is being lit – we will remember the lonely, the ill and the homeless, the bereaved for whom this Christmas will be a particularly sad and difficult time, our emigrants, particularly those who cannot make it home for Christmas this year but will be with us in spirit ; and those who have come to Ireland in recent times to make a new home here, including all those in direct provision, and who will be bringing their own special memories to their Christmas celebrations.

“We also remember all those who will be working this Christmas to keep us safe and well – members of the Irish Defence Forces who will be absent from home this Christmas due to peace-keeping duties abroad; and we remember – the Gardaí, the fire service and all the medical staff who will ensure that the sick and the elderly continue to be cared for while the rest of us are enjoying our family celebrations.”

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