President Michael D. Higgins lauds Irish diaspora in bilingual St Patrick's Day message 3 years ago

President Michael D. Higgins lauds Irish diaspora in bilingual St Patrick's Day message

We truly boast the best President in the world.

President Michael D. Higgins has shared his best wishes for St Patrick's Day to the people of Ireland, the Irish diaspora, and all those around the world celebrating Ireland's patron saint.

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In the President's annual St Patrick's Day message, Higgins calls for links to be forged with the descendants of Ireland's emigrants and stronger bonds with present day migrants.

The president commends the nation's far-flung diaspora and discusses the many forms of Irish migration.

"May I send my best wishes for St. Patrick’s Day to the people of Ireland, and to all those who join us around the world in celebrating the feast day of our patron saint, to those who have supported Irish people, Irish traditions and to those who come to visit us. St. Patrick’s Day is a time when we come together to celebrate not only our rich Irish heritage but also the expression of our contemporary and diverse culture as it is expressed in all its different ways.

"Our heritage and culture connect us to our wider global family, reminding us of the common history and identity we share despite the borders, oceans and miles that may separate us. St. Patrick, we must never forget, was a man whose life embodied the values of solidarity, friendship and concern for his fellow citizen. His own story of migration reflects a theme that remains an important part of our national experience.

"Across the generations there have been many forms of Irish migration, involuntary and voluntary, some impelled by desperation, some by hope for a better future, and some by a curiosity and a desire to explore new horizons. These experiences have gifted us with a large diaspora, one that enables us to have an enduring connection with our contemporary Irish family abroad, and with those of Irish heritage throughout the world.

"Our Irish abroad have accomplished so much in so many diverse fields of endeavour in their countries of adoption while remaining proud of their Irish heritage, and we are particularly proud of all those engaged in humanitarian and peace-building tasks. For many, this bond with the land of their birth, or that of their forebears, remains one characterised by both its strength and intensity. We are greatly conscious, however, that life for many of our migrants in famine and post-famine times was not easy.

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"Letters were expensive to post and travelled slowly across the many miles that separated family members. Those at home were, at times, reluctant to communicate the bad news of deaths and illness, while those who had left desired to shield families from the loneliness and despair that often defined their emigration experience.

"We must now forge new links with their descendants. We must ensure too that we fortify and strengthen the bonds with our contemporary migrants. On this St. Patrick’s Day, as we reach out to our Irish family across the globe, let us look back across the years and remember the many letters that were never written, or never sent, the many vital connections broken and never repaired, the severing of family ties that may still echo down the generations.

"As we do so, let us honour the memory of those long-lost members of our global family by resolving to ensure that today our relationship with all the strands of our Diaspora will be a deep and profound one. Yes, we are fortunate to live in a world where modern technology has greatly bridged geographical distance, allowing a sense of inclusivity and the coming together of Irish people wherever they may be in the world in a spirit of support and solidarity.

"Let us use it, but let us not forget the value of the letter or the visit. On behalf of the people of Ireland, I extend a hand of friendship across the globe to all those who are Irish by birth, descent or association. Those who have welcomed and assisted the Irish, those interested in matters Irish.

"I know that, together, we can build on the best of Irishness, to create a better future for ourselves, our children and all those who live on our beautiful shared, vulnerable, planet. I wish you, and all those who form part of the Irish family, a happy and peaceful St. Patrick’s Day. Beir Beannacht."

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The President, a fluent Irish speaker and champion of the Irish language, also recorded another St Patrick's Day message in our native tongue.

"Tugaim mo bheannachtaí an Lá Fhéile Pádraig seo do mhuintir na hÉireann, agus dóibh siúd go léir ar fud an domhain atá in éineacht linn agus lá fhéile ár bpátrúin á cheiliúradh againn. Dóibh siúd a thugann tacaíocht do mhuintir na hÉireann agus do thraidisiúin na hÉireann, agus dóibh siúd a thagann ar cuairt orainn.

"I gcaitheamh Fhéile Pádraig, tagaimid le chéile lenár n-oidhreacht shaibhir Ghaelach a cheiliúradh. Ach chomh maith leis sin lenár gcultúr comhaimseartha agus ilchineálach, mar a léirítear ar bhealaí éagsúla é, a chur in iúl. Ceanglaíonn ár n-oidhreacht agus ár gcultúr sinn lenár muintir scaipthe dhomhanda.

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"Agus cuireann i gcuimhne dúinn an stair agus an fhéiniúlacht atá á gcomhroinnt againn, in ainneoin na dteorainneacha, na n-aigéan agus an achair fhada a d’fhéadfadh a bheith eadrainn. Níor cheart dúinn riamh dearmad a dhéanamh gur bhain tréithe na dlúthpháirtíochta, an mhuintearais agus an chineáltais maidir lena chomhshaoránach le saol Naomh Pádraig.

"Léiríonn scéal a imirce féin téama atá ina chuid thábhachtach dár dtaithí náisiúnta. Bhí cineálacha éagsúla imirce i gceist ag muintir na hÉireann anuas trí na glúine, idir dheonach agus neamhdheonach. Cuid de spreagtha ag an éadóchas, cuid eile ag súil go mbeadh todhchaí níos fearr acu, agus cuid eile fós ag lorg taithí nua ar an saol. Tá diaspóra leathan faighte againn de thoradh na taithí seo, ceann a chuireann ar ár gcumas ceangal buan a bheith againn lenár muintir chomhaimseartha thar lear, agus leo siúd de bhunadh na hÉireann ar fud an domhain.

"Tá an oiread sin bainte amach san iliomad réimsí saothair ag muintir na hÉireann thar lear sna tíortha a bhfuil a mbaile déanta iontu, ach iad fós bródúil as a n-oidhreacht Éireannach. Táimid bródúil go háirithe astu siúd atá páirteach in obair dhaonnúil agus i gcothú na síochána. Tá a fhios maith againn, áfach, go raibh an saol crua ar chuid mhaith dár n-imirceoirí, roimh an nGorta agus i ndiaidh an Ghorta. Bhí sé costasach litreacha a chur sa phost agus thóg sé tamall orthu taisteal an iliomad mílte a bhí idir daoine muinteartha.

"Uaireanta, bhíodh drogall orthu siúd a bhí sa bhaile drochscéala faoi bhás nó faoi thinneas a insint, agus bhíodh fonn orthu siúd a bhí imithe an t-uaigneas agus an t-éadóchas, a bhain go minic lena dtaithí ar an eisimirce, a cheilt ar a dteaghlach. Ní mór dúinn anois ceangail nua a chothú lena sliocht, agus is é sin atá uathu.

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"Ní mór dúinn a chinntiú go neartóimid na naisc lenár n-imirceoirí comhaimseartha. Inniu, ar Lá ‘le Pádraig, agus sinn ag dul i dteagmháil lenár muintir Éireannach ar fud an domhain, féachaimis siar thar na mblianta agus cuimhnímis ar an iliomad litreacha nár scríobhadh riamh, nó nár seoladh riamh, ar na ceangail ríthábhachtacha a briseadh agus nár deisíodh riamh, ar scoitheadh na gceangal i dteaghlaigh a bhféadfadh a macalla a bheith fós ann i nglúine an lae inniu.

"Cinnte, tá an t-ádh orainn go bhfuilimid inár gcónaí i ndomhan ina bhfuil an bhearna thíreolaíochta druidte go mór ag an teicneolaíocht nua-aimseartha, agus cuidíonn sé sin le muintir na hÉireann teacht le chéile pé áit ar domhan ina bhfuil siad, i spiorad na tacaíochta agus na dlúthpháirtíochta. Bainimis leas as, ach ná déanaimis dearmad ar luach na litreach agus na cuairte.

"Ar son mhuintir na hÉireann, déanaim muintearas leo siúd go léir ar fud an domhain ar Éireannaigh iad, más ó bhreith nó de bhunadh nó trí chaidreamh é sin. Leo siúd a chuir fáilte rompu agus a chuidigh leo agus leo siúd a bhfuil suim acu i gcúrsaí na hÉireann.

"Tá a fhios agam gur féidir linn tógáil ar a bhfuil den scoth san Éireannachas, chun todhchaí níos fearr a chruthú dúinn féin, dár gclann agus dóibh siúd go léir atá ina gcónaí ar an bpláinéad álainn, leochaileach comhroinnte seo. Guím Lá Fhéile Pádraig sona agus síochánta oraibh agus orthu siúd ar cuid den mhuintir Éireannach iad. Beir Beannacht."