The President has invited Irish as well as world renowned philosophers and thinkers to drive a national conversation about ethics.
In the 50 seminars which will take place in 3rd level institutions across the country, a discussion about how ethics should pervade all decisions made within institutions of the state as well as decisions made by European citizens.
Speaking to Newstalk’s Shona Murray on the issue of ethics in memory, President Higgins said a sympathetic statement from government followed by the attitude of 'lets move on' is not a good enough response to reasonable requests for basic information.
“Where the state has been responsible the state has to take responsibility, where institutions are responsible they have to take responsibility”
He said the narrative that “oh you must forgive'” has been “too easily trotted out to people that have been hurt in Ireland.
“There are very different forms of justice that we have to engage with, the issues you mention raise points that will arise in some of the seminars and that is in relation to how you are to remember past transgressions and that is in the ethics of memory”
“There is also the notion of retribution which is far, far different to the issue of revenge”
He encouraged people to ‘deal with the past in such a way that enables you to live today and construct a future for tomorrow”
“I think the one thing that I think is horrific, where information has been denied where there has been no attempt to meet the reasonable request of people for basic information where the state has been responsible, the state has to take responsibility, where institutions have been responsible, they have to take responsibility”.