Irish President Michael D. Higgins today released his St. Patrick’s Day message to all those celebrating the Irish national holiday this year, speaking on the impact that Irish people have had all over the world because of our country’s history of migration.

He pays tribute to the Irish emigrants who have been “peerless ambassadors” for our nation over the centuries, reflecting on how emigration to Ireland is now having the same effect on our country through the passion, energy, and commitment of new groups in our society.

“Since taking office I have set out to visit many of our Irish communities abroad, to be given the opportunity to hear their experiences and to connect with their hopes and concerns,” President Higgins said.

“Then too, over 80,000 people have visited Sabina and I at Áras an Uachtaráin – people who are active in community groups and civil society organizations who are building an inclusive, sustainable and fair society. Their passion, energy, and commitment are building blocks of our nation, and their practical actions of solidarity provide the threads that make up the multi-coloured tapestry that is our Irish nation today.”

The President also reflected on how certain aspects of the St. Patrick story are about migration, as well. Although our patron saint was initially forced to Ireland as a slave, he made the choice to return and migrate there when he was once again back again in his native land.

Read more: Why is Saint Patrick's Day celebrated on March 17?

“In the centuries that followed, migration has remained a constant feature of the Irish experience, defining us as a people, and shaping our outlook on the world,” he said.

“As a migrant people, the Irish have brought their culture and traditions to many new homelands, and in doing so they have been peerless ambassadors for our nation. It is thanks to the millions of Irish emigrants that Irishness, and our Irish national day, is celebrated with such affection and enthusiasm all over the globe.”

President Higgins continued to speak about how on St. Patrick’s Day we all celebrate “Irishness at is best”, reflecting on the achievements we have made around the world and encouraging Ireland to continue to strive for more.

“This Spring, as nature signals the beginning of the season of hope and renewal, let us all work to build the future we hope for and that is rich in shared possibilities,” he stated.

“Let us renew our commitment to build on the rich seam of Irish achievements and creativity, in fields as diverse as the arts, science, humanitarianism, politics and business, and work, together, towards achieving the best version of ourselves, for all of us Irish, for our children, our children’s children and for all those with whom we share this vulnerable planet.”

You can view President’s full St. Patrick’s Day message here:

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