Higgins calls on all nations ‘to redouble their efforts’ for a ceasefire in global conflicts

President references children of Gaza and Israel, ‘existential battle’ of climate change and ‘enriching presence’ of migrants to Ireland in his annual Christmas message

The attacks on children in conflicts around the world require all nations to “redouble their efforts for a ceasefire and set about the tasks of achieving lasting resolutions”, President Michael D Higgins has said.

In his annual Christmas message, the Irish President raised awareness of global conflict, climate change, the Defence Forces and migration.

“This Christmas, we are conscious that across the world there are many people facing the most horrific of circumstances of war and displacement. We think in particular of all of the children in Gaza and Israel, places known to many as a Holy Land, and that has been darkened by the taking of so many lives, and too many young lives in particular, in recent months,” he said.

“All of our hearts are made heavy by these terrible losses. So many families across our own island too will still be feeling the loss of family members to conflict, as this year we marked the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.”


He said: “We Irish are all too aware of the horrors that can be committed, including due to the distortion and abuse of religious difference, when violence is allowed to quench the desire for a shared peace. However, history tells us, and we are conscious of it, that peace can be built, however fragile and cautious those first initial steps must be.”

The President expressed his gratitude to the migrants “who now call Ireland their home”.

“Their presence enriches our culture, contributes to our society, bringing as they do experiences, traditions, and perspectives that make us stronger as a nation. As we celebrate this Christmas season, may it be a time for understanding and appreciation for one another,” he said.

“Let us embrace the values of tolerance and mutual respect, recognising that our differences are the threads that weave the intricate rich fabric of our shared identity.”

On climate change, the president said the world is at a “precarious juncture in what is now an existential battle”.

“Dealing with the consequences of both climate change and biodiversity loss emphasises the need for the recovery of a meaningful and shared diplomacy in dealing with what are shared crises,” he said.

“Our multiple, interconnected crises – including the unsolved crisis of hunger, inequality, biodiversity loss – are all exacerbated by climate changes that are amplifying global poverty, forced migrations, and famine. The stark reality of rising global hunger underscores the urgency of these challenges being collectively addressed.”

The President said the most “significant resolution” for the forthcoming year must be a commitment to succeed in resolving some of the issues highlighted.

“The challenges I have listed are not insurmountable, but they require sustained dedication, collaboration, and commitment to a shared vision for a better world,” he said.

“Let us strive to make a meaningful difference and lay the foundations for a shared and brighter future where justice, compassion, and sustainability prevail.”

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Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers is a reporter for The Irish Times