President Higgins speaks of the homeless in his Christmas and New Year's message
President Michael D Higgins has appealed to Irish people to consider the plight of "the homeless Joseph and Mary" and how it might shape "our own shared humanity" in his Christmas and New Year's message.
President Higgins also noted the plight of refugees and said: "As people of a migrant nation we are perhaps uniquely placed to understand the great agony experienced by the 60 million displaced people".
He looked ahead to the 1916 Commemoration which, he said, would give people the opportunity to "re-imagine and take inspiration from the Republican ideals proclaimed almost a century ago."
"Christmas is a special time. For most of us, it is a time to be together with our loved ones, our families; a time to pause and reflect; a time to recognise and give thanks for the good people, and happy events in our lives.
"If Christmas is a time to celebrate, it is also a time to share. We share each other’s company, each other’s achievements together with each other’s pains, hopes and dreams.
"For we must not forget that Christmas is also a time of hope. At this time, in the deepest darkness of winter, we celebrate the triumph of light over dark, of dreams over the setbacks of the past. We renew our sense of possibilities not yet realised.
"As President of Ireland may I offer people everywhere the warmest wishes for a peaceful as well as a happy Christmas and New Year."