Monday 25 September 2017

Higgins rails 'materialistic' Ireland

President Michael D. Higgins today said that we have recently
President Michael D. Higgins today said that we have recently "closed a chapter" in which people were judged by "their ability to accumulate material goods."
Yesterday, Mr Higgins and his wife Sabina met Caroline Kennedy and Mr Edwin Schlossberg
President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina with Caroline Kennedy
President Michael D. Higgins with Caroline Kennedy

Daniel McConnell, Sunday Independent Political Correspondent

President Michael D. Higgins this evening delivered a powerful address about greed and avarice in Ireland which threatened to jeopardise the country’s essential sense of community.

Delivering at the Westmeath County Council Cathaoirleach Awards ceremony, President Higgins of Ireland as a country “recently closing a chapter on our national narrative during which we had risked losing that essential sense of community” which is one of our defining characteristics.

“As we are all now aware, we have recently closed a chapter on our national narrative during which we had risked losing that essential sense of community which so defines us as a nation and allowing instead the growth of an individualistic culture in Irish society; a culture which valued a person in terms of their personal wealth, their ability to accumulate material goods, and a culture which allowed the needs of the  individual to supercede the needs of the collective – or of society as a whole,” he said.

He railed against those dogmatic economic voices who he said have prioritised the needs of an economy over the needs of the wider society.

“For some it was a time to sustain the needs of the economy at the expense of other considerations.  It was also, of course, a version of ourselves which seemed to include little time for community, because time that could have been spent actively participating in our communities was instead being invested in long commutes and increasing hours spent in the workplace in order to serve the needs of the economic boom,” he added.

Following on from his noted speeches in Europe, in which he criticised the failures of European Institutions to adequately represent the needs of the citizenry of Europe, President Higgins spoke of building an inclusive system which has “at its heart, a democratic, inclusive and sustainable ethos…recognising the greater good.”

“Many of us are realising the value of turning to an older wisdom that, while respecting material comfort and security as a basic right of all, also recognises that many of the most valuable things in life cannot be measured,” he said.

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