President urges 'renewed determination' to tackle unemployment
IRELAND and the EU must approach this year with a "renewed determination and confidence" to address our unemployment problems and the related poverty and distress, the President has said.
At a gathering of world diplomats for the traditional presentation of New Year's greetings at Aras an Uachtarain, President Michael D Higgins made a wide-ranging speech that took in topics from the bailout to the World War I.
The President said leaving the EU/IMF programme in December was "an important step" for Ireland and a demonstration of the resolve and resilience of the Irish people.
He also paid tribute to Nelson Mandela, whose legacy showed that the human spirit "can achieve great things if we draw on the best instincts of our hearts as well as the intellectual gifts of our heads".
And he expressed hope that 2014 would be the year when we witnessed "major steps forward" towards peace and political stability in the Middle East.
The President noted the kind wishes of the Papal Nuncio, His Excellency Most Reverend Charles John Brown, saying they were "especially appreciated" since they came from the representative of a world leader who had "challenged world leaders to address the globalisation of indifference".
With this year marking a century since the outbreak of World War I, the President commented that while "the myriad acts of personal bravery, the nobility of the motives and lives of those lost are rightly remembered, we are reminded in the human slaughter that occurred, of the horror of war".