President Higgins bestows honour upon authors Edna O’Brien and William Trevor, and visual artist Imogen Stuart
President Michael D Higgins has said that as a nation, we must never lose sight of the lives on which Ireland’s greatest artistic works are based.
President Higgins was speaking from a ceremony in which some of Ireland’s most well-known artists were honoured for their work.
Writers Edna O’Brien and William Trevor, and visual artist Imogen Stuart, were conferred with the honour of Saoi in the Aosdana group of Irish artists.
The President presented Ms O’Brien and Ms Stuart with the symbol of the office, a gold torc.
A representative of Mr Trevor’s accepted the torc on his behalf, as he could not attend for health reasons.
“The symbolic torc signifies the excellence of their craft but above all else, most importantly, the high esteem in which they are held by their peers,” said President Higgins.
“The position of Saoi is reserved for artists who have made, in the judgement of their fellow members, a significant, remarkable, and enduring contribution by their work.”
Those who have been honoured in the past include Samuel Beckett, Seamus Heaney and Brian Friel.
“In recent times we recoil in a particular way when we see, presented to us on the television and in the media, the destruction of culture and heritage.,” said President Higgins.
“We should always bear in mind why it is not only right but proper, necessary, to support a whole range of cultural institutions.
“We must never lose sight of the lives on which they are based,” he said.