PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins yesterday urged people to steer clear of taking a cynical stance on the country's future, claiming it will not serve us well.
On his first official visit to Belfast, the President said the peace process had shown us that no problem was too big to overcome. He was the guest speaker at the Irish Congress of Trade Union's Women's Committee Conference at the Waterfront Hall.
In a damning indictment of the Celtic Tiger years, Mr Higgins said a huge price had been paid for the speculative period of "unsustainable growth".
But Mr Higgins said the country was now emerging from a "dark period".
While people were entitled to curse that darkness, we had to look to the future with hope. "The tone of cynical fatalism that has dominated some of the public discourse in recent years will not serve us well for that journey ahead," he said. And in what seemed like a nod to the upcoming referendum on the EU Fiscal Compact Treaty, the President said we needed to debate the future shape of our economic model.
"We are at a crucial point of transition from one economic model that failed us all to another that has yet to be fully realised," he said.
"We need to debate the nature and shape of that economy."