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Inauguration Address by President Patrick Hillery 3rd December 1976, Dublin Castle

A Thaoisaigh Uasail, go raibh míle maith agaut as ucht do bheannacht agus dea-mhéin. Is mór an meas agus is luachmhar é, do mo bhean- chéile agus dom féin, do bheith i láthair anseo inniu an oiread sin cuairteoiri céimiúla agus cáirde. Táimid buíoch agus faoi chomaoin agaibh go léir.

Taoiseach, thank you for your best wishes. My wife and I appreciate greatly the presence here today of so many distinguished visitors and friends. We are grateful to you all.

We live in communities, large and small. If community life is to work well, and is to offer that sense of continuity and stability, even during times of great change, it must have a framework of laws and accepted conventions of behaviour which offer the protection of discipline while tolerating the demands of democracy and of personal individual liberty. I believe we have this balance in Ireland and in the European Community. It is a balance which adjusts itself through our political institutions. The process of adjustment requires the constant attention of those, like governments and presidents, who have institutional responsibility. It is a process which relates people to one another, to their institutions, and relates these institutions to one another.

When I think of the presidency, I think of it as an institution so functioning in the context of our Irish Community. I accept its duties and responsibilities and the obligation to respect both the constitutional framework and the democratic will

In finding their balance within the general order of things all my predecessors have contributed to the evolution of the presidency. My immediate predecessor, Cearbhal Ó Dálaigh, to whom I pay tribute here and now, has done so in an important way.

I believe it will be neither an easy nor an instant accomplishment for me to make my contribution to the further evolution of the office. In seeking to serve Ireland in a new role my first task will be to reflect on what may be achieved and what must be conserved and protected. It is in this spirit of reflection,  a spirit which I believe springs from a need felt throughout Ireland, that I take up office  now.

Cuirim mo bheannacht ó chroí amach chuig muintir na hÉireann. Guím  síocháin dóibh agus guím chomh maith sonas agus dea-rath orthu.

{I convey my heartfelt greetings to the people of Ireland. I pray for peace and I also pray for happiness and good fortune for them.}