In his annual Christmas and New Year message the President of Ireland Michael D Higgins – who in a few months time will be the first ever Irish Head of State to make a State Visit to Great Britain as the guest of Her Majesty the Queen -has a special greeting for Ireland’s emigrants, or diaspora. He also asks those in Ireland to be as welcoming to Ireland’s new Irish as host countries such as Britain have been to the emigrant Irish.
He also expresses the ope that in 2014 Ireland will have a greater concentration on ethics – nationally and globally.
“May I offer my warmest wishes for Christmas and the New Year to everyone in Ireland, in a special way to our emigrants abroad, and to the members of the extended Irish family wherever they may be. Christmas is a season of homecoming. It is a time when we rekindle those embers of friendship and kinship that bring meaning, warmth and joy to our lives – lives lived within communities.
As so many of us at this time come together in fellowship, we should be mindful of those who are in distress, alone, or separated from a loved one.
May I, as Uachtarán na hÉireann, thank each and every one of you who are caring for our communities throughout the holiday season and indeed during the rest of the year – including An Garda Síochána, the Prison Service, all of the staff in our hospitals and emergency services, and members of the Defence Forces who are building or supporting peace abroad.
In this year of the Gathering, we extended a warm welcome to the Irish Diaspora.
Christmas, however, reminds us that true hospitality endures and reaches beyond kin and one’s own community; it extends to the stranger, the newcomer, the outsider.
Christmas is a time to reflect on what binds us together, as members of the same family, as neighbours, as fellow-citizens and as human beings.
The message of Christmas, shared by many faiths, invites us to care for one another and to be – in an ethical sense – one another’s keeper.
Faoi scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine, our own ancient language tells us.”
PRESIDENT OF IRELAND MICHAEL D HIGGINS