The Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has said the New Year will bring hope, possibility and confidence to Ireland as the country enters its presidency of the European Union.
Kenny said the presidency will bring hope and confidence to people of Ireland by delivering jobs, stability and economic growth.
He said “We all know too well here in Ireland the huge sacrifices the crisis has meant. The people of Europe and Ireland need to know and need to see there is progress being made. That there is a next step to recovery.”
The Irish leader was joined by the Deputy leader Eamon Gilmore and Minister of State for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton at a special flag-raising ceremony at Dublin Castle, to mark the beginning of Ireland's six-month term.
Kenny insists that stronger relations with EU member states would lead to a brighter future for Ireland.
He said “The Irish presidency in 2013 will be about three crucial words: stability, jobs and growth.
"There are real actions to back up those three words. We will be in the business of solution, a recovery country, driving recovery in Europe."
The ceremony at Dublin Castle marked the beginning of Ireland’s seventh presidential term, honored the incoming European Year of Citizens and celebrates 40 years since Ireland entered the EU in 1973.
Kenny said “Let this presidency and the new year, this European year of the citizen, bring new hope, new possibility and new confidence to our peoples…And above all, may it find that, together, this family of Europeans, we are making a richer and more sustainable future for all our peoples.”

Eamon Gilmore, Enda Kenny and Lucinda Creighton at the launch of Ireland's EU Presidency at Dublin CastleCollins