Michael D Higgins has officially been inaugurated as the President of Ireland for the second time.
Speaking at Dublin Castle this evening, Mr Higgins made the presidential declaration as he was sworn in for another seven years.
In his inauguration speech Mr Higgins spoke at length about the global problems facing Ireland including climate change and nationalism.
He praised young people in this country for rejecting “the undermining of democracy by xenophobia and hate”.
Mr Higgins said Ireland’s youth are “moving past models of insatiable consumption and are forging different paths to personal and collective fulfilment” and wanted real freedom that is inclusive.
“They have rejected cynicism, have chosen political engagement in the public world and have chosen to be agents of ethical change, to make the possibilities of hope a reality,” he said.
“For example, our young people are asking, why is there an escalation in competing military arsenals with all the abuse and misuse of human, scientific and technological capacity that is involved, capacities and resources that should be directed towards supporting society and sustainability?
“They see a future as defined by ethics, philosophy and creativity as the kind of future to which science and technology should be called to assist,” he told a select audience at Dublin Castle.
The President said he had received a “huge mandate” for his vision of Ireland.
But he warned that we cannot afford to be “complacent as to how we are living our lives and planning our future at local, national, European or global level. Inequalities are deepening and many of our people do not have the necessary securities of adequate housing, shelter, health, education, such securities and supports which would allow them to realise their rights and participate with equality”.
Mr Higgins said “ideas matter” and history tells us that “anti-intellectualism has been, and remains, the weapons of authoritarian and anti-democratic forces in so many parts of our shared, vulnerable planet”.
The President said Ireland is facing many challenges “which go beyond borders, require cooperation at global level but affect, and can be affected, by the lives of every person in every local place”.
“Not only is the very existence of our planet in its bio-diversity threatened but we have not yet slowed the pace of that destruction.
“We live with ongoing violence against women which must be ended. We must confront and challenge any excuses offered for the denial of the irreducible rights, of women who make up, let us not forget, a majority of humanity on this planet.
“It is important that we recognize the rights and culture of indigenous peoples. It is also important that each person is free to express their sexuality, gender or relationship,” Mr Higgins said.
Among those in attendance at the event in Dublin Castle were the defeated presidential candidates, including Peter Casey who finished second in last month’s election.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and several ministers represented the Government.
During his contribution, Mr Varadkar attempted to inject some humour into the formal ceremony.
While acknowledging the President’s wife Sabina, and children Alice Mary, Michael, John and Daniel, the Taoiseach added people should also think of those who couldn’t make the inauguration.
“For example, Bród and Síoda - who have nonetheless contributed greatly to life in Áras an Uachtaráin,” Mr Varadkar said.