As President of Ireland, Uachtarán na hÉireann, may I send greetings and my warmest wishes for a peaceful and happy Christmas and New Year to all of the Irish, and those interested in matters Irish, wherever they may be.
Mar Uachtarán na hÉireann, is mian liom mo bheannachtaí na Nollag agus mo dhea-ghuí don Athbhliain a chur in iúil do mhuintir na hÉireann, agus dóibh siúd a bhfuil suim acu i gcúrsaí Éireannacha, cuma cá bhfuil siad.
Christmas is a season of celebration and joy. It is a time to join with our loved ones, a time to reflect upon the year gone past and the year ahead, a time to give thanks for friendships and families, and a time to share our achievements and dreams of achievement.
Christmas is a moment of hope, and the revival of hope, a moment to find encouragement, even in the most difficult and trying of circumstances. Amidst the darkness of winter, it is a moment when we can seek to renew our sense of possibility for a future shared with others, one full of opportunity and endless potential.
Christmas, recalling as it does, the birth of Christ as an infant to his mother and father in the most humble of circumstances, insecure and facing flight is a time to remember the vulnerabilities that should be shared, and addressed, by us all; in particular vulnerabilities experienced by those who are at risk, excluded and so many for whom there is ‘no place at the inn’.
In Ireland today, far too many of our people are missing the necessary securities of home. There are those who are concerned for their access to health services and education, for the right to voice their concerns and experience full participation in our republic. So, as we recall our shared vulnerabilities this Christmas, let us resolve to forge together a renewed sense of solidarity, one shaped to fit and encompass all our citizens.
There are many within our society who work tirelessly to support, and stand in solidarity with, those who are marginalised or in need.
Throughout 2018 I encountered, as President of Ireland, so many generous people whose dedicated work and belief in an active and fully engaged citizenship mark them out as role models in life. On behalf of all our generations I thank them. It is from those groups and individuals we can take inspiration as we envision and build our shared future.
The story of Christmas is one of a baby born in Bethlehem who brought peace and joy to the world. Today many of our fellow citizens across the world live within the dark shadows of conflict, persecution, violence, injustice and poverty.
As global citizens we must never hesitate to raise our voice in union with all those who pursue a more just world, making new connections with each other and with the vulnerable planet we all inhabit. To our peacekeepers abroad and their families I send a special thanks and greetings, and to all those services who will make our Christmas possible in a safe, peaceful and enjoyable way.
We must also ensure there is room in our inn for those who, like Mary and Joseph two thousand years ago, have undertaken long and difficult journeys in search of safety and a future of hope.
Hospitality is the great universal and unifying value that connects all of the faith systems and languages of the world. It is appropriate then that we should respond to the changing pattern of migration into our country in a spirit of openness and hospitality, welcoming and supporting those who wish for a better life, or simply for a life free from fear.
So as we leave behind the dark days of mid-Winter, and move towards a season of new beginnings and new possibilities, let us do so with a renewed commitment to social solidarity. Let us ensure that all those who are vulnerable, in Ireland and across the world, do not walk alone but know that we are willing to travel beside them on their difficult journeys, their journeys of hope.
I am honoured, as we enter 2019, to continue to serve the people of Ireland.
Is mór an onóir dom é, agus muid ag tabhairt aghaidh ar 2019, leanúint ar aghaidh de bheith ag obair ar son muintir na hÉireann.
Guím Nollaig síochánta agus Athbhliain faoi shéan is faoi mhaise oraibh ar fad.
I wish you all a peaceful Christmas and a happy New Year.