By Cian Molloy - 16 March, 2019
In his presidential message for St Patrick’s Day, Uachtarán na hÉireann Michael D Higgins has called on all friends of Ireland to use the occasion of our patron saint’s feast day as an opportunity to commit themselves to environmental activism and championing green issues.
Greeting Ireland’s global family, as well as “all those from other nations and cultures who join with us in celebration of our national day”, Mr Higgins said 17th March was a day to reflect on the legacy of St Patrick.
“[His] life embodied the values of solidarity and shared humanity, reminding us of how much of what is necessary and good can be accomplished by those who think inclusively and act from the best instincts of the heart.
“On this special day let us renew our commitment to equality, social justice and care for all our vulnerable people, so many of whom continue to struggle for the very necessities of life,” he said.
“The colour green is, of course, strongly associated with our national saint’s day, with Ireland’s history and our struggle for independence.
“Today the word green has now become profoundly linked to the protection of our environment and the challenges we face in preserving the planet for our own and future generations. The important decisions that have been taken at global level to halt the ongoing destruction of the environment must involve us all. It is critical that we all become ever more aware of the importance of changing our lifestyles, so that we can help reduce the negative impacts on the environment of our actions.
“It is important that we embrace our responsibilities as global citizens and play our own personal and essential role in saving our planet and our environment,” Mr Higgins said.
He wished everyone in Ireland and all those “fellow global citizens who are friends of Ireland” a happy and a peaceful St Patrick’s Day, and used his message to promote other Patrician values.
“Let us also resolve to embrace all of our responsibilities as global citizens, and to work with fellow citizens across all continents for a better, more equal and sustainable world; a world that, with all our efforts, can reject violence in all its forms; that recognises continuing global poverty, exploitation and exclusion from the fulfilment of societies and persons as a continuing failure on the part of humanity.”
The 77-year-old first citizen of Ireland has a busy day ahead of him tomorrow. Before taking part in Dublin’s St Patrick’s Day Parade, he and his wife Sabina will attend Mass at the pro-Cathedral.
Afterwards, Mr Higgins will be at Croke Park to enjoy the all-Ireland club hurling final and later in the evening, at Áras an Uachtarán, he will host a reception for some of those who work to support homeless people.