President opens ‘Big Irish Echo Campfire’ event

Fri 28th Aug, 2020 | 16:00

Message from President Michael D. Higgins to the “Big Irish Echo Campfire”

Áras an Uachtaráin, 28 August 2020

Is cúis mhór áthais dom beannachtaí a chur chugaibh go léir atá cruinnithe le chéile le h-aghaidh The Big Irish Echo Campfire.

May I send my best wishes to all those gathered together for the Big Irish Echo Campfire, and through you, to the broader Irish community throughout the United States.

As we joined one another in fighting the global health emergency presented by the Coronavirus pandemic we, in Ireland, remained greatly conscious of the profound link we share with our American Irish family despite the many thousands of kilometres that may separate us.

The depth of our connection is maintained and nurtured by the generous spirit of solidarity that has always defined the Irish community in the United States. The Irish Echo has played its own significant role in keeping that spirit alive by providing, for almost a century, an important voice and forum for our Irish community in the USA. 

Today you continue that vital work, despite these socially distanced times, by gathering Irish American Associations from across the USA to discuss, together, how we might navigate our way safely towards a shared and brighter future.

I am greatly impressed by the breadth and depth of your programme for today, and by the wide range of experts who have agreed to participate. We know that the current Covid-19 crisis has had devastating consequences for so many across the globe, impacting on the worlds of trade, business, culture, health, education among the poorest and altering significantly how we may interact in our daily lives together.

Our response to these challenges will require moral courage, innovation and resolve as we work to craft a post-pandemic future, born out of crisis but built on a new understanding of the values that must lie at the heart of a truly functioning world.

Conversations such as the ones being initiated amongst you today will be critical to the construction of such a future.

The Irish story in the US is one of hard work, resilience and achievement at the highest level across so many areas of American society. It is inspiring to see that story continues to be written in a way that makes us, in Ireland, so very proud of our Irish American family.

Now, more than ever, is a time for unity and for us to work together, in solidarity and compassion, to come through this difficult period and craft a better and brighter future for both our nations.  For generations of Irish people, cruthaitheacht and samhlaíocht, creativity and imagination, have been our greatest resource.

I thank you all for taking part in this important event and for supporting the Irish community in the United States to remain vibrant and connected to each other and to the country of their birth or forefathers.

I wish you a most fruitful gathering, and every success as you continue your important work.

Go raibh míle maith agaibh go léir.

Beir beannacht do inniu agus don todhchaí.