FORMER President Mary Robinson has said that Ireland will emerge stronger than ever from the current economic crisis.
"I think Ireland has benefited from a very tough lesson. We recognise that this is the toughest time we've been through in modern Ireland. It's hurting people terribly, but we will come through stronger and I hope we will come through fairer, with a real sense of what Ireland itself can achieve," Ms Robinson stated.
She acknowledged that Ireland was going through "another wave" of emigration, something she felt the country could use to renew itself.
She noted that modern emigration was different in that young people "know that they want to come back and be more equipped for the modern Ireland".
"We need to be a country that these young people want to come back to and that's the challenge for the rest of us."
Speaking to student journalists at NUI Galway, she also revealed her upset regarding the recent surge in youth suicides.
"I find it very, very distressing that so many young people in Ireland don't feel that sense of hope in themselves, that sense of potential," she said.
Ms Robinson alluded to her work with the Elders, a human rights advocacy group founded by Nelson Mandela, where members are encouraged to tell young people that they are the future, "not in a glib way, but in a really affirming way".