Congratulations to Michael D Higgins, 9th President of Ireland, and a man who will continue to bring vision, integrity and honour to the highest office of the state.
“The President is Ireland’s face to the outside world, and should highlight the best on which our international reputation is built.
This includes excellence in culture and the arts, creativity in business, pride in our heritage, respect earned through our record in humanitarian work and in peacekeeping, and the important contributions and connections made by our diaspora in so many countries.
A priority of my Presidency will be to strengthen and deepen all strands of our international reputation. I believe that being Irish in the world is something we should all be proud of.
Another priority will be the strengthening of Ireland’s connection with its wide diaspora.
As President, I would wish to reach out to all sections and all generations of the Irish abroad, particularly those young people who have recently left.
Wherever they make their new lives, be it Manchester, Toronto, Beijing or Buenos Aires, we must, I believe, emphasise to them the important role that they can still play, even while abroad, in contributing to the cultural, economic and social fabric of Ireland – inviting them to maintain an active and constructive connection with Ireland. In this regard, the building of stronger networks in all countries where the Irish assemble is of critical importance.
As President, I would hope to be Patron of these emerging networks and believe they can not only serve as valuable and necessary support mechanisms for the Irish abroad, but also open up opportunities to strengthen new employment projects in Ireland and improve access to international markets for Irish companies, including in emerging economies such as China, India or Brazil.
Representing ourselves abroad in our best sense means celebrating all that makes Ireland unique and in that sense I will also be proud to promote the Irish language as a living, vibrant and beautifully expressive language.”