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Tuesday 28 November 2023 Dublin: 3°C

"We too experienced the scourges of colonisation and hunger"

President Michael D. Higgins today addressed a delegation in Ethiopia as part of his tour of Africa.

SPEAKING DURING HIS tour of Africa, President Michael D. Higgins has drawn comparisons between the experience of colonial oppression in Ireland and Ethiopia.

In his speech to a crowd at Africa Hall, in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, President Higgins said that the Irish “were never big proponents of racial supremacy theories” and that, “the Irish can be prone to identify, in sympathy and imagination, with those people who strive for their freedom.”

In his remarks, the President went on to state that “we too experienced the scourges of colonisation and hunger”.

State visit

On the purpose of the tour of Africa, President Higgins stated that:

My hope in this new century, therefore, is that we endeavour, together to build a cooperative, caring and non-exploitative civilisation, based on the firm foundations of people’s own institutions and traditions.

This speech comes as part of a three week tour of Africa undertaken by the President. He is being accompanied on the trip by Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Sean Sherlock.

Earlier in the week the President visited refugees from South Sudan in camps located in the west of Ethiopia. While on his trip, the Irish Government announced that it will provide €2 million in funding for refugees affected by the conflict in the region.

President Higgins Official Visit to Ethiopia, Malawi and South Africa Chris Bellew / Fennell Photography President Higgins with the President of Ethiopia, Dr Malatu Teshome, and a stuffed lion Chris Bellew / Fennell Photography / Fennell Photography

Speaking earlier in the week, Sherlock said:

The vast majority of South Sudanese refugees arriving in Ethiopia are women and children. Many are in very poor health having walked for weeks from a number of areas in South Sudan to reach shelter.

The President is still set to visit Malawi and South Africa as part of his three-week African tour.

Read: Ireland donates €2 million to South Sudan as President Higgins visits the country 

Also: Here’s how our President is getting on in Africa

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