President Michael D Higgins has reached out to migrants as the Christmas Tree Lights are switched on this evening at Áras an Úachtaráin.
President Higgins extended good wishes to our emigrants abroad, as well as remembering the “new Irish community” trying to recreate family traditions here in their new homeland.
President Higgins said it was important to remember the core meaning of Christmas – offering shelter, and a welcome to strangers in need of refuge – saying we stand in solidarity with all those across the world who are forced to leave their homes in search of a life free from fear and danger.
He said it was a challenging time for those depending on the kindness of others as they celebrate Christmas in a new country, and a new home.
He also urged those present to extend their thoughts to our emigrants who can’t make it home for Christmas, including members of the Irish Defence Forces abroad, and to those working at home to keep us safe and well – the Gardaí, fire service and medical staff.
The President also paid tribute to the bereaved who are finding this Christmas difficult, and to those who are homeless, marginalised, vulnerable, sick, lonely, sad or worried this Christmas.