Ireland’s new president Michael D Higgins started his new 7 year job last Friday and as it is custom (and protocol), he started with a speech that outlined his approach to the job at a celebration in Dublin Castle.
The full speech is here: www.rte.ie/news/2011/1111/higgins_speech.html
It wasn’t the most momentous speech, but I guess an inauguration speech like that can’t easily be momentous.
However there was one outstanding aspect: Michael D Higgins talked about a rebuilding of Irishness, he mentioned the Irish diaspora and emigration. But with no word he mentioned us ‘New Irish’, who are not Irish citizens, but who nevertheless contribute regularly and consistently to the economy and culture in Ireland. No reference to the multicultural Ireland. No reference to imigration. He totally ignored that Ireland is NOT just filled with Irish citizens anymore.
Sure, we were not allowed to contribute at the presidential election, but that’s not enough of a justification to exclude hundreds of thousand of people in this ‘new’ Ireland.
EXclusion was not what I had expected from Michael D Higgins!