President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins has condemned racism in his St. Patrick's Day message, stating that a "poisonous xenophobia" has taken hold in "so many places" around the world.
President Higgins also addressed a wide range of issues such as forced migration, poverty, and the climate crisis in his ten-minute speech ahead of St. Patrick's Day.
Higgins said it was "heartening" that so many communities in Ireland have provided sanctuary to tens of thousands of Ukrainian citizens who have fled the country following the beginning of the war with Russia last year.
"It is heartening to see the welcome that so many households and schools have extended here in Ireland and elsewhere, heartening to hear of all those who continue to provide sanctuary to the tens of thousands of displaced Ukrainian citizens who have fled conflict in their homeland," Higgins said during his St. Patrick's Day message.
"Schools in every part of the country have opened their arms to new pupils and shown a deep commitment of respect and solidarity. Thank you."
The President also addressed a rise in racism and xenophobia and called on people to stand with all vulnerable people around the globe.
He additionally referenced Saint Patrick and his legacy, adding that Ireland's patron saint was a migrant and an example of the positive contributions that migrants have made throughout history.
"The story of his life as a migrant, we must never forget, is a reminder of the resilience and necessary courage of migrants, a reminder too of the contributions that they have made, and continue to make, to the countries they call home," Higgins said.
Higgins added that the circumstances faced by St. Patrick resonate with many people's modern-day circumstances, stating that "racism is increasing rather than decreasing, in so many parts of the world".
"A poisonous xenophobia, new and recalled, has taken hold in so many places."
Higgins said it is in "our power" to create a just and inclusive world where all people are treated with dignity, respect, and justice.
Addressing global poverty and climate change, Higgins said there is a moral and ethical responsibility to support those in dire need and to help provide a decisive response to climate change.
Higgins said it was a "tragic injustice" that the nations that are suffering the greatest effects of climate change are the ones that are least responsible for the emissions that cause it.
The President ended his 10-minute speech on a positive note, calling on people to be guided by "points of light" instead of points of darkness.
"Let us envision how our lives could be without war, famine, hunger, and greed, in a world that eschews the poisonous ideals of imperialism and embraces the decent instincts of humanity that such as Saint Patrick embodied."