Irish language

The president calls for hospitality to all this Christmas

Michael D HIggins has used his annual Christmas and New Year’s speech to call for a re-imagining of a new Ireland based on the egalitarian ideals that were fought for in 1916
Robert McMillen

GO mbeannaí Dia daoibh agus bhur gcéad fáilte isteach chuig The Bluffer's Guide to Irish.

With the western world, engaged in a frenzy of tomhaltachas - consumerism totally disconnected to the whole meaning of Christmas, it was good to hear an tUachtarán - the President, Michael urging people to use Christmas to reflect on the homeless Iosaef - Joseph and Muire - Mary, anticipating the birth of their child, “and how they were aided by complete strangers”.

(Daoine gan dídean are the homeless).

Speaking from Áras an Uachtaráin, Michael D said that during 2015 one in every 122 people on the planet was a teifeach - a refugee, a displaced person or otherwise forced to leave their homes.

“Cogaíocha - Wars, coimhlint - conflict and géarleanúint - persecution have forced more people to flee than at any other time since records began,” he said.

He also reminded us that the Irish are a náisiún imirceach - “migrant nation” and thus were perhaps uniquely placed to understand the great agony experienced by the 60 million displaced people.

With the numbers of people sleeping rough in Ireland on an upward curve the Simon Community has said the response to homelessness offers few solutions but the President sees good in “how countless people in Ireland have chosen to respond with suáilceas - warmth and real féile - hospitality.

“Our NGOs (eagraíochtaí neamhrialtasacha if you must know), our medical services, and our uniformed services – both at home and overseas – are peopled by those who have chosen to dul i mbun gnímh - to take action, and to be the stranger that offers a helping hand, a shelter, a meal to those in need. How we treat the weakest among us is the finest test of us as a nation,” he said.

Referrring to the celebration of Éirí Amach na Cásca - the Easter Rising, President Higgins said it was also time to “reimagine and take inspiration from the republican ideals proclaimed almost a century ago,” he said.

(The Bluffer agrees that maybe we should start thinking of an Dara Poblacht - the Second Republic - France has had five already - so that the country can be rebuilt on something other than gombeenism.)

As the President puts it, Christmas story gives guidance “on how to shape our own shared humanity with a regard for future generations.

“This year in particular, we welcome the acceptance of new obligations by nation states in relation to global poverty and athrú aeráide - climate change,” the President said.

“It is my sincere hope that those ideals can inspire each and every one of us on our shared journey where each step made by each citizen, in every generation, matters, a journey that we all make together, never alone.”

The President then offered the warmest wishes for a peaceful as well as a happy Christmas as does the Bluffer - Nollaig Shona, a chairde.

Irish language

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