A Christmas and New Year’s Message from President Michael D. Higgins

A Christmas and New Year’s Message
from President Michael D. Higgins

December 2015

Christmas is a special time. For most of us, it is a time to be together with our loved ones, our families; a time to pause and reflect; a time to recognise and give thanks for the good people, and happy events in our lives.

If Christmas is a time to celebrate, it is also a time to share. We share each other’s company, each other’s achievements together with each other’s pains, hopes and dreams.

For we must not forget that Christmas is also a time of hope. At this time, in the deepest darkness of winter, we celebrate the triumph of light over dark, of dreams over the setbacks of the past. We renew our sense of possibilities not yet realised.

As we take stock over this holiday period, we are given an opportunity to reflect on our lives and the world we live in. As we do so, we are reminded of the hardship experienced by countless people in Ireland and the suffering of millions of our fellow travellers on this vulnerable planet we call Earth.

As we reflect on the story of Christmas and the birth of Jesus, on the plight of the homeless Joseph and Mary anticipating the birth of their child, and how they were aided by complete strangers, we can perhaps draw inspiration from what they experienced for our own lives and times. More than anything, the Christmas story gives us guidance on how to shape our own shared humanity with a regard for future generations. This year in particular, we welcome the acceptance of new obligations by nation states in relation to global poverty and climate change.

A Christmas and New Year's Message from President Michael D. Higgins

During 2015 we learnt that 1 in every 122 people on the planet is now a refugee, a “displaced person” or otherwise forced to leave their homes. Wars, conflict and persecution have forced more people to flee than at any other time since records began.

As people of a migrant nation we are perhaps uniquely placed to understand the great agony experienced by the 60 million displaced people.

In this context, it is heartening to see how countless people in Ireland have chosen to respond with warmth and real hospitality. Our NGOs, our medical services, and our uniformed services – both at home and overseas – are peopled by those who have chosen to take action, and to be the stranger that offers a helping hand, a shelter, a meal to those in need. How we treat the weakest among us is the finest test of us as a nation.

During the past year both Sabina and I have experienced and valued the warmth and friendship of people both at home and abroad – and it is something we deeply appreciate. In villages and towns around the country and on working visits abroad we have had the privilege of witnessing the contribution to community and the public world made by Irish people in so many different ways.

Together, we can strengthen that web of solidarity that binds us as a people and as a global community next year. As we prepare to commemorate the momentous events of a century ago that shaped the birth of our Republic, we are encouraged not only to recall those events, but also to re-imagine and take inspiration from the Republican ideals proclaimed almost a century ago.

It is my sincere hope that those ideals can inspire each and every one of us on our shared journey where each step made by each citizen, in every generation, matters; a journey that we all make together, never alone.

Mar Uachtarán na hÉireann, guím gach dea-ghuí oraibh go léir agus go raibh Nollaig agus Bliain Nua shona agus shíochánta agaibh.

As President of Ireland may I offer people everywhere the warmest wishes for a peaceful as well as a happy Christmas and New Year.


As Gaeilge:

Teachtaireacht na Nollag agus na hAthbhliana
ón Uachtarán, Micheál D. Ó hUigínn

Nollaig 2015

Is tráth ar leith atá sa Nollaig. Don chuid is mó againn, is tráth é le bheith i gcuideachta iad siúd a bhfuil cion againn orthu, ár muintir féin; tráth le scíth a ligean agus machnamh a dhéanamh; tráth le haitheantas a thabhairt do na daoine maithe agus do na heachtraí sona sin inár saol agus le bheith buíoch astu.

Más tráth ceiliúrtha í an Nollaig, is tráth comhroinnte freisin í. Roinnimid ár gcomhluadar agus gach a bhfuil bainte amach againn lena chéile, chomh maith lenár dtrioblóidí, ár ndóchas agus ár n-aislingí.

Níor cheart dúinn é a ligean i ndearmad gur tráth dóchais atá sa Nollaig chomh maith. Ag an tráth seo, i ndorchadas domhain an gheimhridh, déanaimid ceiliúradh ar bhua an tsolais ar an dúchan, agus bua na n-aislingí ar na bacainní a tháinig romhainn san am atá caite. Déanaimid athnuachan ar na féidearthachtaí nach bhfuil fíoraithe go fóill.

Le linn na saoire seo, tugtar deis dúinn cuimhneamh ar an saol agus ar an domhan ina bhfuilimid ag maireachtáil. Agus é sin á dhéanamh againn, cuirtear i gcuimhne dúinn an cruatan agus na trioblóidí atá á bhfulaingt ag an iliomad daoine in Éirinn agus ag na milliúin dár gcompánaithe ar an bplainéad leochaileach seo ar a dtugaimid an Domhan.

Agus sinn ag smaoineamh ar scéal na Nollag agus ar bhreith Íosa, ar chruachás Sheosaimh agus Mhuire agus iad ag súil le breith a linbh, agus ar an gcaoi ar thug daoine – ar strainséirí a bhí iontu – cúnamh dóibh, is féidir linn inspioráid a fháil dár saol féin, sa lá atá inniu ann, óna raibh le dul faoi acu. Níos mó ná rud ar bith eile, tugann scéal na Nollag treoir dúinn faoin gcaoi ar cheart dúinn ár ndaonnacht chomhroinnte a mhúnlú agus aird againn ar na glúine atá le teacht.

I mbliana, go háirithe, cuirimid fáilte roimh na dualgais atá le glacadh ag náisiúnstáit maidir le bochtaineacht dhomhanda agus le hathrú aeráide.

Le linn na bliana dhá mhíle agus a cúig déag, d’fhoghlaimíomar gur teifeach, nó “duine díláithrithe” nó duine arbh éigean dó teitheadh óna theaghlach ar chúis éigin, atá i nduine amháin as gach céad fiche a dó duine ar an bplainéad. De bharr cogaí, coimhlintí agus géarleanúna, cuireadh iallach ar níos mó daoine teitheadh óna dteaghlach ná mar a tharla riamh ó thosaigh taifid á gcoimeád.
Mar phobal imirceach, tá tuiscint ar leith againn ar an saol léanmhar atá ag an seasca milliún duine a díláithríodh in aghaidh a dtola. Sa chomhthéacs sin, is ábhar misnigh é a fheiceáil an méid daoine in Éirinn arbh í an fháilte chaoin agus an chóir a bhí á dtairiscint acu. Tá ár nEagraíochtaí Neamh-Rialtasacha, ár seirbhísí sláinte, ár seirbhísí faoi éide – sa bhaile agus thar lear araon – lán le daoine atá tar éis cinneadh a dhéanamh dul i mbun gnímh, a bheith mar na strainséirí a thairgeann lámh chúnta, dídean agus béile dóibh siúd atá ar an ngannchuid.

Is é an bealach a chaithimid leo siúd is laige inár measc is fearr a thaispeánfaidh an
dea-theist orainn mar náisiún.

Sa bhliain atá caite mhothaigh mé féin agus Saidhbhín suáilceas agus cairdeas na ndaoine, sa bhaile agus thar lear araon, agus is rud é sin ar mór againn é agus a bhfuilimid fíorbhuíoch as.

I sráidbhailte agus i mbailte ar fud na tíre seo agus ar chuairteanna oibre thar lear bhí sé de phribhléid againn cion tairbhe mhuintir na hÉireann, ar bhealaí éagsúla ar mhaithe leis an bpobal agus leis an saol poiblí, a fheiceáil.

I gcomhar lena chéile, is féidir linn gréasán sin na dlúthpháirtíochta a cheanglaíonn lena chéile muid, mar dhaoine agus mar phobal domhanda, a neartú an bhliain seo chugainn. Agus sinn ár n-ullmhú féin le heachtraí móra céad bliain ó shin, a mhúnlaigh breith
ár bPoblachta a chomóradh, spreagtar sinn ní hamháin leis na heachtraí sin a thabhairt chun cuimhne, ach idéil na Poblachta a fógraíodh beagnach céad bliain ó shin a shamhlú an athuair agus spreagadh a fháil uathu chomh maith.

Is é mo dhóchas ó chroí gur féidir le gach aon duine againn spreagadh a fháil ó na hidéil sin ar ár dturas coiteann, mar a mbeidh tábhacht le gach aon choiscéim a ghlacfaidh gach aon saoránach, i ngach aon ghlúin, turas a dhéanfaimid go léir le chéile, gan aon duine ina aonar go brách.

Mar Uachtarán na hÉireann, guím gach dea-ghuí oraibh go léir agus go raibh Nollaig agus Bliain Nua shona agus shíochánta agaibh.

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