President Michael D Higgins has paid tribute to the people of Ireland for their “courage, resilience and patience” in the face of Covid during 2021.
The President was speaking to the nation in his annual Christmas speech, which he delivered from the presidential home, Aras an Uachtarain in Phoenix Park.
However, he said the successful roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine programme to citizens across the country has “enabled a sense of renewed hope and possibility to enter our lives, for which we can be deeply grateful”.
He said: “May I offer to each and every one of you my warmest greetings and my wishes for a peaceful and happy Christmas for you all.
“This last year has been a challenging one and for some more than others.
“Throughout this past year we have again been called on to change and adapt our lives as we continue to battle with the great global challenge that is the impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic.
“Your response has been one that showed courage, resilience, patience and a deep commitment to others.
“May I pay tribute to you all for your efforts.
“The successful roll-out of the Covid-19 Vaccine Programme to citizens across the country has enabled a sense of renewed hope and possibility to enter our lives, for which we can be deeply grateful.”
The President added: “I am, however, profoundly aware of the many people who have lost loved ones to Covid-19 during 2021, and may I extend to you my deepest sympathies at this difficult time, when we remember them all.”
He also said: “Today we are once more in a period of adjustment, with new measures appropriate to new circumstances, as we hope to emerge from the Pandemic.
“From what we are going through together, as well as the efforts we are sharing, I am confident that we will have been building a better, shared future, one rooted in that spirit of unselfish citizenship that has been so visible in recent times.
Meanwhile, President Higgins also referenced the fight against climate change in his speech.
He said: “The Pandemic has once again reminded us too of how interconnected and interdependent in a global sense we are; the responsibilities, as well as the benefits, that brings, of how the quality of our response to that interconnection and interdependence matters, indeed will affect our very survival together.
“Last month, world leaders met in Glasgow at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, to address the increasingly urgent climate crisis. We are now at a critical juncture in this battle, one that requires vital and meaningful change from all of us, in every aspect of our lives, be it how we produce, consume or behave, if we are to limit global warming.
“Once again, may I wish you a safe and Happy Christmas, and a New Year of hope, promise and fulfilment.
“Nollaig Shona daoibh go léir.”
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