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Speech of An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar T.D.,at the Inauguration of President Higgins

Dublin Castle, 11 November 2018

A chairde agus a dhaoine uaisle,
Sometimes the best way of honouring the past is to break from it.

Today we inaugurate President Michael D. Higgins for a second term in an evening ceremony so that we could commemorate the ending of the First World War earlier today.
By requesting this change, President Higgins exhibited the values which he has brought to the office over the past seven years:
• Respect
• Empathy
• Understanding, and
• A selfless desire to put the country first.
As we approach the commemoration of the first Dáil, the War of Independence, the Anglo-Irish Treaty, and the Civil War, we are fortunate to have in someone with the values, sensitivities, and understanding of President Higgins.
Throughout a lifetime of public service, President Higgins has spoken for all parts of Irish society, and all of our people.  
As an academic, an artist, a T.D., a Senator, a Minister and as President, he has always articulated a clear set of values and principles, and has spoken with courage, compassion and authenticity. 
By representing us with distinction, he has brought distinction on our country.
I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Sabina who has been a wonderful partner and ambassador for Ireland at home and abroad over the past seven years.  Thank you for all that you have done and will continue to do.  This is your day as well.
I would also like to congratulate their children, Senator Alice Mary, Michael, John and Daniel, and all their friends and family.  
I think we should also acknowledge those who couldn’t join us today – for example,Bród and Síoda - who have nonetheless contributed greatly to life in Áras an Uachtaráin.
To be inaugurated for a second term as President, with an overwhelming mandate from the people of Ireland, is a great honour. 

An even greater honour is the trust, affection, and respect which the Irish people have for you. 
Gabhaim buíochas le Micheál D as a sheirbhís phoiblí mar fhile, mar fhealsamh, mar thírghráthóir agus mar pholaiteoir le linn a shaoil. 

Déanaim comhghairdeachas leis as a bheith atofa ina Uachtarán ar Éirinn agus tá a fhios agam go ndéanfaidh sé ionadaíocht ar son ár dtíre le hoirirceas i gconaí le linn na seacht mbliana atá amach romhainn.     

An Irish poet has written of the need for the sharing of space to dispel the dark moments we face.
It is through, quote, the ‘sharing of all human hope’ that we can reclaim our ‘shared humanity’.  
Those words were written by our 9thPresident, President Michael D. Higgins.
As Taoiseach I thank him for his words and his wisdom throughout a career of public service, and I wish him the very best as he embarks on a second term as President of Ireland.