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# Michael D
Michael D. Higgins paid tribute to the Irish abroad, and it is so heartwarming
“Our Irish abroad have accomplished so much.”

HOW MUCH DO we love you, Michael D? Oh, let us count the ways.

Seriously though, we’ve found a rare gem in our President, and we’re not about to go taking him for granted any time soon.

Indeed, his St Patrick’s Day message for 2018, which highlighted the accomplishments of the Irish around the globe and the importance of maintaining familial ties, was a particularly poignant one.

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Not lest for the millions of Irish people who will not be spending our national holiday among friends and family in their native country.

“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.

Acknowledging the impact migration has on the individual, President Higgins added: “For many, this bond with the land of their birth, or that of their forebears, remains one characterised by both its strength and intensity.”

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Turning his attention to the generations who went before us – those who desperately sought a better future abroad, and those who remained in Ireland through economic hardship – he sought to communicate the challenges faced by our ancestors in a heartfelt tribute.

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.

With so many thousands of families around Ireland having said goodbye to loved ones during the most recent recession – many of whom have yet to return to Ireland – President Higgins urged the nation to maintain ties with those abroad.

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.

You can watch the President’s message in in its entirety here.

Áras an Uachtaráin / YouTube

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