independent

Wednesday 18 July 2018

Local author invited to Aras

President welcomes writers' groups

Local author Pádraig Hanratty pictured with President Michael D Higgins
Local author Pádraig Hanratty pictured with President Michael D Higgins

Margaret Roddy

Local author Pádraig Hanratty from Bellurgan Point was part of a group of writers that was invited to Áras an Uachtaráin recently to meet President Michael D. Higgins.

The group comprised members of WORD, Irish PEN and the Irish Writers Centre. President Higgins is the Patron of the Irish Writers Centre, and the promotion of creativity, critical thought and careful use of language have been hallmarks of his presidency.

The WORD group was established by June Considine in collaboration with The Irish Writers Centre in June 2015.

Its aim is to bring professional writers together in an informal, mutually supportive atmosphere. As well as addressing writers' issues, the group advocates on social and political concerns, and industry-wide issues.

President Higgins pointed out that PEN has had a long history in Ireland. And he praised its work in upholding and protecting the 'fundamental right to hold opinions and to write without harassment'.

PEN International started in the aftermath of World War 1. It brought writers together to express solidarity by campaigning for freedom of expression for all writers, and for individual writers who were silenced, harassed, imprisoned and murdered because they had the courage to write.

Irish PEN, the Irish chapter of Pen International, was set up by Lady Augusta Gregory. It continues to be a strong voice for freedom of expression. Pádraig Hanratty is currently a member of the Irish PEN committee.

WORD and Irish PEN recently came together to start the Freedom to Write campaign. President Higgins reminded the group that 'States and governments who do not allow the fullest expression of freedom damage themselves, and they come to know it in time'.

Anyone interested in getting involved in promoting freedom of expression, can email irishpen2@gmail.com.

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