St Patrick's Day 2022 - Message from the Ambassador
News17 March 2022
St. Patrick’s Day 2022 – Message from the Ambassador
March 17 is St Patrick’s Day, Ireland’s National Day. It is an important day for people in Ireland, for the Irish community and friends of Ireland around the world.
This will be the third St Patrick’s Day since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past two years, thousands of people in Ireland and South East Asia have lost their lives. We endured other losses, too, including the loss of contact with friends and family due to quarantine and travel restrictions.
This hardship has reminded us of what is important in life. In a world dominated by electronic communications, we were reminded of the need for human contact, the importance of our community and the need to support the most vulnerable. We pay particular tribute to health workers in our countries whose hard work and sacrifice saved many lives.
I am proud that Ireland was able to play a part in supporting COVID-19 response in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. We provided PPE to hospitals in southern Vietnam, supported mothers and newborn babies with COVID-19 and funded improved hygiene and sanitation facilities. In Cambodia, we strengthened COVID testing capacity and in Laos we funded the provision of oxygen therapy devices for hospitals.
I want to recognise the response of Irish people, sports clubs, and friends of Ireland across Vietnam that have selflessly provided funding and supplies to vulnerable communities throughout the pandemic. Special mention should be made of their response to calls for much-needed blood donations.
Numbers of COVID cases and deaths globally have fallen sharply. The Omicron variant arrived later in Vietnam than in other parts of the world, but here too, case numbers will fall. We hope that life can soon begin to return to normal and we look forward to re-connecting with friends and families many thousands of miles away.
2022 is an especially important year for Ireland as we mark 100 years since the founding of our State. We have travelled a long road in a short time. Ireland has transformed from a poor and under-developed country to become one of the world’s more prosperous and globalised nations. We owe our success to many factors, including investment in education and our membership in the European Union. Whereas Ireland was blighted by emigration for many decades, we have become home to migrants from across Europe and beyond, including from Vietnam and now home to thousands of refugees fleeing from the war in Ukraine.
The Irish Government has condemned in the strongest possible terms, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has supported an extensive package of sanctions in response. To date, the Government has pledged €20 million in humanitarian aid as well as providing a range of medical supplies. Irish people have opened their hearts and their homes to thousands of Ukrainian refugees in a tangible demonstration of compassion and solidarity.
While many things have changed over the hundred years since Ireland’s independence, some things remain constant, including our core values. A small country, Ireland is outward-looking. We play an important role in UN peacekeeping. Irish peacekeepers have served overseas on UN-mandated missions every single day since 1958.
Last year we served alongside Vietnam as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. This year, we continue to work in the UN in the cause of peace and stability worldwide, including in relation to the war in Ukraine. Our commitment to international development continues to grow. In 2022, Ireland will contribute more than 1 billion Euros in Official Development Assistance around the world.
Spring has taken hold in Ireland and across South East Asia. The days are growing longer, bringing hope for brighter times ahead. We recognise our loss and sacrifice but look forward to an end to the pandemic. We hope for an end to the war and suffering in Ukraine.
This year we mark our national day in a low-key way. However, I hope that on March 17, 2023, we will mark Ireland’s national day in the traditional way, with music and song and dance.
In the meantime, to the Irish community and the friends of Ireland across Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, I wish you all a Happy St. Patrick’s Day.
Ambassador of Ireland