May I, on this St. Patrick’s Day 2020, send my warmest greetings as Uachtarán na hÉireann, President of Ireland, to all our extended family across the world and indeed to all those interested in matters Irish.
Wherever you may be, and in whatever circumstances, as part of Ireland’s global family you will be joining with us as we celebrate the feast day of our patron saint, and the culture ancient and contemporary, the heritage and history that connects us.
The 17th of March is a day when we recall the life of St. Patrick, his transformative spirit, and the enormous legacy he has left behind as exile, migrant and apostle.
Today, as the world faces the global spread of the coronavirus we are called more than ever to follow the values embodied in the story of St. Patrick. Those values of solidarity and concern for the well-being of our fellow citizens will play a fundamental role in our effective confronting of the challenge with which we are now presented.
It is a challenge that calls on the tradition and practice of our communities working together, recognising the needs of all their members, and in particular those who are most vulnerable.
So often, as President of Ireland, I have been inspired and uplifted by the generous spirit of unity that I have witnessed in communities across the country. I have seen so many examples of care and compassion where communities have come together to look after their elderly and sick, and to ensure the welfare of those who are vulnerable and marginalised.
That spirit, I have no doubt, will come very much to the fore during this difficult time, which will require generous and compassionate citizenship as we work to keep all members of our community safe.
We must remember, of course, that we are also citizens of a wider global community. St Patrick’s Day has become a profound expression of a common history that extends far beyond Irish shores, and of the strong bonds we share with our wider global family despite the miles, borders and oceans that may separate us.
As members of that global community we must commit to working in a spirit of solidarity and co-operation, joining with citizens across the world in fighting this global health emergency.
On this day when we celebrate the feast of our patron saint, Patrick, let us draw on the best of our Irishness in order to create a safer future for ourselves and all those who live on our shared, vulnerable, planet.
On behalf of the people of Ireland, I extend a hand of friendship across the globe to all those who are Irish by birth, descent or association, and to all those who have assisted our Irish people, or who simply have an interest in things Irish.
I wish you, and all those who form part of the Irish family, a happy and peaceful St. Patrick’s Day.