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President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina Coyne at Dublin Castle. Photo by: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

President of Ireland Michael D Higgin's inauguration speech - full text

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President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina Coyne at Dublin Castle. Photo by: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Muintir na hÉireann and friends of Ireland at home and abroad, there can be no greater honour than to have been elected Uachtarán na hÉireann - President of Ireland. I thank you the people of Ireland for the honour you have bestowed upon me and I accept and appreciate the great responsibilities of that office.

Citizens of Ireland, you have chosen me to be your ninth President, to represent you at home and abroad, and to serve as a symbol of an Irishness of which we can all be proud.

An Irishness which is carried by every citizen and which we must recall and forge anew together.
I enter the ninth Presidency with a sense of humility, but also with confidence in the great capacity of our people, the people of Ireland, not only to transcend present difficulties but to realise all of the wonderful possibilities that I believe await us in the years ahead.

I wish to acknowledge the immense contribution of those who have previously served in this office, particularly the two great women who have immediately preceded me.

They have made contributions that developed our consciousness of human rights, inclusion, and the important task of deepening and sustaining peace within and between communities in every part of our Island. It is work I will endeavour to continue and build upon.

As your President, I am grateful for the extent of the support, the strong mandate, you have given me. I also realise the challenges that I face, that we face together, in closing a chapter that has left us fragile as an economy, but most of all wounded as a society, with unacceptable levels of unemployment, mortgage insecurity, collapsing property values and many broken expectations.

During my campaign for the Presidency, I encountered that pain particularly among the most vulnerable of our people. However, I also recognise the will of all of our people to move beyond anger, frustration or cynicism and to draw on our shared strengths. To close the chapter on that which has failed, that which was not the best version of ourselves as a people, and open a new chapter based on a different version of our Irishness - will require a transition in our political thinking, in our view of the public world, in our institutions, and, most difficult of all, in our consciousness.

In making that transformation, it is necessary to move past the assumptions which have failed us and to work together for such a different set of values as will enable us to build a sustainable social economy and a society which is profoundly ethical and inclusive. A society and a state which will restore trust and confidence at home and act as a worthy symbol of Irishness abroad, inviting relationships of respect and co-operation across the world.

We must seek to build together an active, inclusive citizenship; based on participation, equality, respect for all and the flowering of creativity in all its forms. A confident people is our hope, a people at ease with itself, a people that grasps the deep meaning of the proverb 'ní neart go cur le chéile' - our strength lies in our common weal - our social solidarity.

Sin iad mór-théamaí na hUachtaránachta atá curtha romham agam, agus mé lán-dóchasach go bhfuilimid ar tháirseach ré nua d'Éirinn agus d'Éireannaigh, sa bhaile agus i gcéin. Ré nua ina mbeidh bunluacha na cothroime agus an chirt, agus spiorad na cruthaíochta, faoi bhláth: poblacht, a mbeidh Éireannaigh de gach aicme agus traidisiún bródúil aisti.

My Presidency will be a Presidency of transformation, recognising and building on the many positive initiatives already under way in communities, in the economy, and in individual and collective efforts throughout our land. It will be a Presidency that celebrates all of our possibilities. It will seek to be of assistance and encouragement to investment and job creation, to innovation and original thinking - a Presidency of ideas - recognising and open to new paradigms of thought and action. It will aspire to turn the best of ideas into living realities for all of our people, realising our limitless possibilities - ár feidireachtaí gan teorainn.

In implementing the mandate you have given me, I will seek to achieve an inclusive citizenship where every citizen participates and everyone is treated with respect. I will highlight and support initiatives for inclusion across Ireland and also make it a priority to visit and to support the participation of the most excluded in our society, including those in institutional care.

I will champion creative communities who are bringing about positive change at local level by giving recognition to their achievements on the national stage. I believe that when we encourage the seedbed of creativity in our communities and ensure that each child and adult has the opportunity for creative expression, we also lay the groundwork for sustainable employment in creative industries and enrich our social, cultural and economic development.

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