"Our bonds are stronger than we think" - President Higgins releases Christmas message

Michael D Higgins reflects on international crises and Ireland's Centenary celebrations in his video message

"Our bonds are stronger than we think" - President Higgins releases Christmas message

Image: Áras an Uachtaráin

President Higgins has released his Christmas and New Year message, suggesting 'we are challenged to embrace the new' as we head into 2017.

In his annual message from Áras an Uachtaráin, President Higgins addresses subjects including the refugee crisis, terrorist attacks, uncertainty in the EU, and violence in Syria, Yemen and Iraq. He says "the dream of 'Peace on Earth' can seem very distant" as we approach the New Year.

He also reflects on the 1916 Centenary celebrations, saying "we celebrated elements of our past that can provide us with a lasting source of pride and confidence, as well as a compass for the future. We also reflected on aspects of our history that had been forgotten, evaded or even downplayed.

"As we now face into a new year we are challenged to embrace the new. We need courage to depart from what has not served us well, and we need the inspiration to make new connections with each other and with the vulnerable planet on which we live." 

He also suggests: "Our solidarity is the heart beat of our society. Our bonds are stronger than we think, and stronger than that which at times divides us. The complex world in which we live challenges us, but it does not pose greater challenges than those faced and overcome by previous generations, or by brave movements of the oppressed in world history.

"My wish, at this Christmas of 2016, is that, together, we will continue to seek to build the true republic of which our forebears dreamt, embracing the values, possibilities and responsibilities contained in that dream."

You can watch the full message below: