DFA Logo

This content from the
Department of Foreign Affairs
has now moved to Ireland.ie/tokyo. If you are not redirected in five seconds, click here.

Skip to main content

Please be advised that the Embassy of Ireland, Japan website has moved and this page is no longer being updated. The Embassy website is now available at Ireland.ie/tokyo.

2023 St. Patrick’s Day Message from President Michael D. Higgins

Uachtarán na hÉireann

President of Ireland

2023 St. Patrick’s Day Message from President Michael D. Higgins


Mar Uachtarán na hÉireann, may I send my warmest greetings and good wishes to our Irish family, and friends of Ireland, across the world, on this day of celebration of our national patron, Saint Patrick.

Whether we are Irish by birth or Irish by choice, we are all part of a rich and vibrant global community that is bound together by a shared love of life, a shared love of our national heritage, language and culture.

Today, as we gather to celebrate that spiritual culture and legacy that speaks so deeply to us of a common but complex past, we can draw a shared strength from recalling the inspirational teachings from the life of Saint Patrick, our national Patron Saint.

In these times of multiple interacting crises, human and natural, it is vital that we recognise the need for a solidarity that binds us together as humans, and acknowledge the responsibility we share for our vulnerable planet and for all those who dwell on it.

For example, the plight of the people in Türkiye and Syria will be in our thoughts as they work to rebuild in the wake of last month’s devastating earthquakes.  Such horrific events remind us all of our utter vulnerability, and of the shared humanitarian response required.

We live in a time of increasing conflicts, and a departure from the principles of international and humanitarian law so carefully crafted over decades, as alternatives to war.

Over a year on from the invasion, the people of Ukraine, and all those ensnared in the more than 20 armed conflicts around the world, must remain foremost in our minds.

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.  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.

As we honour our patron saint, Naomh Pádraig, how appropriate it is that we recall the foundational story upon which our National Day, is based, that story of the slavery of his time as a young man.

Saint Patrick emerged from slavery, having been trafficked across the Irish Sea as a young man.  After six years he escaped, returning to his family and his studies in Britain.  Yet, in a remarkable display of resilience and generosity, he would later return to Ireland as a missionary.

There are many powerful echoes from Patrick’s life that resonate with our contemporary circumstances, ones that have brought new forms of slavery into being, where racism is increasing rather than decreasing, in so many parts of a world, where a poisonous xenophobia, new and recalled, has taken hold in so many places. It is in these spaces where fear is being sowed.

The story of Patrick’s transformation that would lead to his becoming an emblem of the country he adopted as his own, stands in counterpoint and is so important.

In his protest against the war crimes of King Coroticus and his men, Patrick, the former slave, gave both voice and his life, to spearheading an awareness of the consequences of slavery. 

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.

The act of migration constitutes a story defined by an extraordinary will and an unyielding human desire to envision and create a better world, even in the face of sometimes considerable adversity.

Today, as we recall the life of our patron saint, we can invoke his spirit in acknowledging our role as global citizens, opening our minds and hearts to our universal human family in all its complexity, circumstances and vulnerability.

It is by showing empathy, compassion and solidarity, such as by helping those fleeing distress, by offering our hearts and doors to those in need, and giving people an opportunity to build a better life for themselves and their families, that we demonstrate our commitment to bringing into being values which have the power to transcend borders.

Basic human morality suggests that we must think in terms of the common good if we are to invoke or follow the path of Saint Patrick, recognizing that we bear a duty to stand in solidarity with all those across the globe who are vulnerable and in need, and do everything in our power to create an inclusive, just world where all humans, in all their diversity and circumstances, are treated with dignity, respect and justice.

While Saint Patrick’s story encourages us to reflect on the significance of migration running through our history as a constant feature of the Irish experience, we are required to respond to the ongoing, brutal reality of human trafficking and forced migration as a constant feature of human experience.  It is by doing that we can most fully embrace Patrick’s legacy and our own place and exercise our responsibilities in today’s world.

There are so many areas where we cannot continue to fail on such basic issues as global hunger and poverty.  For example, in the Horn of Africa, the harsh reality of hunger steals the future, the potential, the dignity, of millions of our brothers and sisters threatened with famine.

How shameful it is too that 64 countries in the developing world were forced, while struggling with the Covid pandemic, to spend more on debt repayments than on funding public health.

During my recent visit to Senegal at which I addressed the Africa Food Summit, I emphasised that there is an urgent need to tackle not only poverty and hunger in Africa but to offer proper security on the basic necessities of life, delivering universal basic services such as education and healthcare, thus helping to create a lasting, sustainable future built on security in its most inclusive sense.

We have a moral and ethical responsibility to support our global family in dire need, to help with sustainable solutions to ending all famines, to provide a decisive response to climate change.

Saint Patrick’s message was at its core one of respect for nature, for its spirituality reflected in its seasonal renewal.  Our planet is scarred by the consequences of human actions, actions often sourced in greed, actions that have had a direct bearing on our changing climate, constituting, as it does now, one of the greatest challenges of our time, reflected in extreme weather events, widespread displacement and forced migration across our world, and the loss of fertile land.

It is such a tragic injustice that those nations suffering the greatest human and economic impact of climate change are those who were least responsible for the emissions that threaten their very existence.

The demand for collective action addressing our shared Earth’s climate emergency has never been greater.  We all must now take responsibility for our role in the climate crisis and play our part in decarbonising our economy and society so that we may inhabit a sustainable world, one that preserves the planet for future generations and all those who inhabit it.

On this day, let us pledge to work together, cooperating, so that we may confront the contemporary challenges facing our world, espousing some of the most essential values, such as kindness and compassion, embodied as they are in the story of Saint Patrick.

Rather than list the points of darkness that challenge us in our contemporary circumstances, let us instead be guided by the points of light.  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.

As we commemorate Saint Patrick’s legacy, guide and patron, whose life embodied the values of a shared, generous sense of humanity, let us do so by mustering the courage to recover the best instincts of our humanity, have the mettle to face those who resist such instincts, reaffirm and strengthen our commitment to advocating the principles that informed Patrick’s life, calling us as they do to embrace our role as global citizens, extending a hand of support to all those in need with whom we share this planet, respond with hospitality and kindness to those fleeing the ravages of hunger, conflict and climate change, thus bringing into reality our taking responsibility to work with fellow citizens for a more just and inclusive world.

I wish you all a most enjoyable and peaceful Saint Patrick’s Day. 

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh uilig.




Uachtarán na hÉireann

Teachtaireacht Lá Fhéile Pádraig 2023 ón

Uachtarán Micheál D. Ó hUigínn


Is mian liom mar Uachtarán na hÉireann mo bheannachtaí croíúla agus mo dhea-ghuí a sheoladh chuig clanna agus cairde na hÉireann ar fad ar fud na cruinne ar lá ceiliúrtha ár naomhphátrúin náisiúnta Naomh Pádraig.

Tá muid ar fad, mar Éireannaigh, cuid de phobal luachmhar, bríomhar domhanda is cuma cé acu Éireannaigh ó dhúchas muid nó gur roghnaigh muid a bheith inár nÉireannaigh, muid ceangailte go dlúth le chéile trínár ngrá don saol, agus an grá atá againn i gcoitinne dár n-oidhreacht náisiúnta, dár dteanga agus dár gcultúr.  

Agus muid ag cruinniú le chéile inniu le ceiliúradh a dhéanamh ar ár gcultúr spioradálta agus ár n-oidhreacht, a mheabhraíonn go domhain dúinn, an stair choiteann agus chasta atá againn, is féidir linn neart agus misneach a fháil ó theagasc spreagúil agus ó bheatha Naomh Pádraig, ár naomhphátrún náisiúnta. 

Na laethanta seo agus géarchéimeanna iomadúla daonna agus nádúrtha ag tarlú ag an am céanna, tá sé ríthábhachtach go dtuigeann muid a riachtanaí agus atá an dlúthpháirtíocht sin a nascann le chéile muid mar dhaoine daonna agus go nglacann muid leis na freagrachtaí atá orainn i dteannta a chéile don phláinéad leochaileach seo agus do gach duine a mhaireann air.

Beidh cruachás mhuintir na Tuirce agus na Siria ar intinn againn agus iad i mbun atógála ansin tar éis na gcreathanna talún uafásacha a tharla an mhí seo caite.  Meabhraíonn tragóidí den chineál sin dúinn ar fad chomh fíor-leochaileach agus atá muid agus a riachtanaí agus atá sé go gcuirfí cabhair dhaonnúil aontaithe ar fáil.

Mairimid faoi láthair i dtréimhse ina bhfuil coimhlintí ag méadú  agus droim láimhe á thabhairt do phrionsabail idirnáisiúnta agus don dlí daonnúil a cuireadh le chéile go cúramach in imeacht na mblianta fada mar mhalairt ar an gcogaíocht.

Tá breis agus bliain ann anois ó rinneadh an t-ionradh ar an Úcráin, agus caithfimid pobal na tíre sin, agus na daoine ar fad atá sáinnithe i mbreis agus 20 coimhlint armtha eile ar fud an domhain, a choinneáil chun tosaigh inár n-intinn.

Is mór an tógáil croí é mar a d’fháiltigh an oiread sin de theaghlaigh agus de scoileanna sa tír seo, agus in áiteanna eile, roimh na mílte agus na mílte de shaoránaigh de chuid na hÚcráine a cuireadh as seilbh agus a theith de bharr na coimhlinte ina dtír dhúchais.

Chuir scoileanna i ngach cuid den tír fáilte chroíúil roimh dhaltaí nua agus léirigh siad tiomantas an-mhór dóibh le meas agus le dlúthpháirtíocht.

Nach tráthúil agus muid ag comóradh ár naomhphátrúin, Naomh Pádraig, an bunscéal a bhaineann lenár Lá Náisiúnta a thabhairt chun cuimhne arís, scéal sclábhaíochta na linne sin agus Naomh Pádraig ina fhear óg.

Ón sclábhaíocht a tháinig sé anseo, tugtha trasna Mhuir Éireann go mídhleathach ina fhear óg.  D’éalaigh sé tar éis sé bliana agus d’fhill sé ar an mBreatain, ar a theaghlach agus ar a chuid léinn.  Ach mar léiriú suntasach ar a mhianach agus a fhlaithiúlacht thiocfadh sé ar ais go hÉirinn arís níos deireanaí mar mhisinéir.

Tá macallaí láidre ó bheatha Phádraig le sonrú i gcúinsí comhaimseartha an lae inniu: tús á gcur le cineálacha nua sclábhaíochta, an ciníochas ag méadú seachas ag laghdú, an fuath don strainséir – an seineafóibe nimhiúil nua nó seanbhunaithe ag dul i dtreise i gcuid mhór áiteanna ar fud an domhain. Is ansin atá síol an fhaitís á chur.

A mhalairt ar fad a bhí i gceist i scéal Phádraig, é ag athrú agus ag baint stádais amach mar shiombail nó mar shuaitheantas na tíre seo, an tír ar chinn sé cónaí agus cur faoi inti.  Agus é ag glacadh seasamh in aghaidh coireanna cogaidh an Rí Coroticus agus a chuid fear, bhí Pádraig, an t-iarsclábhaí chun tosaigh lena ghlór agus a thacaíocht saoil le dul i ngleic leis an toradh a bhí ar an sclábhaíocht agus an glacadh coiteann a bhí léi.

Cuireann scéal Phádraig mar imirceach i gcuimhne dúinn – agus níor cheart é a ligean i ndearmad – an mianach agus an misneach a theastaíonn ó imircigh agus an mhaitheas a rinne siad agus a dhéanann siad fós sna tíortha sin a airíonn siad mar bhaile anois. Insíonn gníomh na himirce scéal dúinn a bhfuil díograis éachtach agus mian dhiongbháilte dhaonna i gceist leis, chun domhan níos fearr a shamhlú agus a chruthú, fiú agus cruachás go leor sa bhealach in amanna.

Agus muid ag tabhairt beatha ár naomhphátrúin chun cuimhne inniu is féidir linn smaoineamh ar a spiorad agus muid ag glacadh lenár ról mar shaoránaigh dhomhanda, ár n-intinn agus ár gcroí a oscailt don teaghlach daonna comhchoiteann lena chastachtaí, a chúinsí agus a leochaileacht ar fad.

Trí chomhbhá, trua agus dlúthpháirtíocht a thugann san áireamh tacú leo siúd atá ag teitheadh ó chiapadh, ár ndoirse agus ár gcroí a oscailt dóibh siúd atá ar an ngannchuid, agus deis a thabhairt do dhaoine saol níos fearr a mhúnlú dóibh féin agus dá dteaghlaigh – sin mar a léiríonn muid ár dtiomantas le luachanna níos fearr a chruthú, luachanna a bhfuil sé de chumhacht acu teorainneacha a shárú. 

Éilíonn moráltacht bhunúsach dhaonna orainn smaoineamh ar leas an phobail, an leas coiteann, má tá muid le cosán Naomh Pádraig a leanúint agus muid ag aithint go bhfuil dualgas orainn seasamh i ndlúthpháirtíocht leo siúd ar fud na cruinne atá leochaileach, nó ar an ngannchuid agus gach rud a bhfuil de chumhacht againn a dhéanamh le domhan a chruthú atá ionchuimsitheach, domhan cothrom ina gcaitear le dínit, le meas agus go cóir le daoine beag beann ar a n-éagsúlachtaí nó ar a gcúinsí féin.

Cé go spreagann scéal Naomh Pádraig muid le machnamh a dhéanamh ar thábhacht na himirce mar théama leanúnach i dtaithí phobal na hÉireann go stairiúil, is gá dúinn dul i ngleic leis an bhfírinne uafasách a bhaineann leis an míúsáid ar dhaoine leochaileacha do chuspóirí brabaigh, agus an imirce éigeantach a leanann go fóill.

Trí sin a dhéanamh is fearr is féidir linn a bheith dílis d’oidhreacht Phádraig, dár n-áit féin agus beart a dhéanamh maidir lenár bhfreagrachtaí i ndomhan an lae inniu.

Tá oiread réimsí ann nach féidir linn leanúint orainn ag teip maidir le buncheisteanna, ar nós ocras domhanda agus bochtaineachta.  Is é an fhirinne shearbh i gCorn na hAfraice, mar shampla, go bhfuil an t-ocras ag goid a gcumas, a ndínit agus a bhfuil i ndán dóibh ó na milliúin dár ndeartháireacha agus dár ndeirfiúracha gach lá.

Nach mór an chúis náire é nach raibh de rogha ag 64 tír atá i mbéal forbartha agus iad ag dul i ngleic le paindéim Covid-19 níos mó airgid a chaitheamh ag aisíoc fiacha ná mar a bhí acu le caitheamh ar an tsláinte phoiblí.

Ar mo chuairt chun na Seineagáile le gairid le labhairt ag Cruinniú Mullaigh na hAfraice ar chúrsaí bia, leag mé béim ar an bpráinn a bhaineann le dul i ngleic ní hamháin le bochtaineacht agus ocras san Afraic ach le deimhniú go mbeidh barántais ann maidir le bunriachtanais na beatha a chur ar fáil, bunseirbhísí comhchoiteanna ar nós oideachais agus cúram sláinte, le todhchaí inbhuanaithe, leanúnach, bunaithe ar shlándáil sa chiall is uileghabhálaí den fhocal, a bheith ag gach duine.

Tá dualgas morálta agus eiticiúil orainn tacaíocht a thabhairt dár dteaghlaigh dhomhanda atá i gcruachás, tacú leo le réitigh inbhuanaithe a fháil le deireadh a chur le gach gorta, agus freagra críochnúil a thabhairt maidir le hathrú aeráide.

Bhí meas ar an dúlra agus ar spioradáltacht an nádúir agus ar an athfhás séasúrach i gcroílár na teachtaireachta a bhí ag Naomh Pádraig.  Tá droch-chuma fágtha ag gníomhaíochtaí an duine ar ár bpláinéad, ar gníomhaíochtaí iad a bhfuil an tsaint mar spreagadh acu go minic, agus a bhfuil tionchar díreach acu ar an athrú aeráide.

Tá sé mar thoradh ar sin go bhfuil ceann de na dúshláin is mó riamh os ar gcomhair anois, le droch aimsir, díláithriú daoine, imirce in aghaidh tola trasna an domhain agus talamh torthúil á chailliúint.

Is éagóir thragóideach í go bhfuil na náisiúin sin is measa atá buailte ag tionchar daonna agus eacnamaíochta an athraithe aeráide ar na tíortha is lú atá freagrach as na hastaíochtaí sin atá á mbagairt anois.

Ní raibh an t-éileamh chomh mór riamh agus atá anois, go rachfaí i mbun gnímh maidir le géarchéim na haeráide inár ndomhan comhroinnte.  Caithfimid ar fad freagracht a ghlacadh as ár ról féin sa ghéarchéim sin agus ár gcuid féin a dhéanamh maidir le dícharbónú an gheilleagair agus ár sochaí le gur féidir linn maireachtáil i ndomhan inbhuanaithe, a thabharfaidh cosaint don phláinéad don todhchaí agus do na glúnta atá le teacht.

Tugaimis gealltanas ar an lá seo oibriú agus comhoibriú le chéile, le dul i bhfeidhm ar na dúshláin chomhaimseartha atá os ar gcomhair agus tacú leis na luachanna riachtanacha sin atá mar chuid de scéal Naomh Pádraig, cineáltas agus comhbhá san áireamh.

Seachas díriú ar an dorchadas fad is a bhaineann le cúinsí reatha, dírímis ina áit sin ar an solas.  Samhlaímis mar a bheadh an saol ann gan cogadh, gorta, ocras nó saint, domhan a thabharfadh cúl le hidéil nimhiúla an impiriúlachais agus domhan a chuirfeadh fáilte roimh nádúr fiúntach an duine dhaonna mar a bhí i gceist i gcás Naomh Pádraig.

Agus muid ag comóradh oidhreacht Naomh Pádraig, treoraí agus pátrún, a raibh féith na daonnachta go láidir ann, déanaimis an ceiliúradh sin tríd an misneach a bhreith chugainn féin leis na tréithe is fearr den daonnacht a chothú arís, an teacht aniar a bheith ionainn seasamh ina n-aghaidh siúd a shéanfadh na tréithe sin agus ár dtiomantas do na prionsabail sin a bhain le beatha Phádraig a dhearbhú arís.

I measc na bprionsabal sin tá ár ról mar shaoránaigh dhomhanda a ghlacadh chugainn arís, lámh chúnta a thabhairt dóibh siúd ar an bpláinéad comhroinnte seo atá i gcruachás, a bheith fáilteach agus cineálta leo siúd atá ag teitheadh ó ghorta, ó choimhlint nó de bharr athrú aeráide agus, dá réir sin, freagracht a ghlacadh as oibriú lenár gcomhshaoránaigh le domhan atá níos cothroime agus níos ionchuimsithí a chruthú.

Guím go mbeidh sásamh agus síocháin agaibh ar fad an Lá Fhéile Pádraig seo.

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh uilig.

Beir beannacht.





« Previous Item | Next Item »