'We must all reduce carbon footprint,' says President in Christmas message
President Michael D Higgins has said we must do much more to tackle climate change if we are to "avoid catastrophe".
In his Christmas and New Year message, he called on people to make individual efforts to reduce their carbon footprint.
"Throughout 2019, the need for collective action against climate change and biodiversity loss became ever more evident," he said.
"The year has ended with a clear message from scientists that we must do much more to avoid catastrophe.
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"It was uplifting to witness our younger generation demonstrate their willingness to play their part.
"Governments have a key role in leading the necessary change. However, if we are to succeed in meeting this greatest challenge we must all act as a global community.
"What may seem small individual actions can make a big impact cumulatively on our carbon emissions.
"Therefore, as we begin a new year, let us determine to reduce our carbon footprint and become more aware of how our actions can damage our planet's fragile biodiversity," he said.
He also praised the achievements of the Irish diaspora as he reflected on the debate surrounding asylum seekers here.
Mr Higgins said Christmas is a time "when we can all reflect on its central theme - the story of Mary and Joseph seeking refuge in Bethlehem for themselves and their unborn child, and being repeatedly told that there was 'no room at the inn'.
"Here in Ireland, we have our own long history of emigration, of movement, of journeys, of leavings and exile... the generous contributions received from our emigrants during times of great poverty and hardship for our people were key to the constructing of an Ireland that might become one of hope and opportunity.
"That is a very important chapter of our history and one we must never forget. Today many people turn to us, their fellow global citizens, for protection and shelter for themselves and their families, and for the provision of hope for a better future.
"Do we dismiss them from our door, telling them there is no room at our inn, or do we greet them in a spirit of hospitality, bearing in mind the history of emigration that is such a defining characteristic of the Irish people?"