President Higgins praises students' 'spirit of humanity' that kept Ireland's most vulnerable safe

Posted 20 May, 2021

President Michael D Higgins has thanked third level students for the “spirit of endurance, humanity and community” they showed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a video, the Irish president said students had sacrificed much in the interests of public health, but that this generosity had kept Ireland's “most vulnerable citizens safe”.

“You will have missed opportunities to gather together in lecture halls, tutorial rooms and study groups, to engage in the spontaneous debate and discourse that is such an important part of the third level experience,” he said.

“You may have also been required to cancel or forego graduation ceremonies, social gatherings, musical and sporting events and so many other social activities that are integral to the memories others may have formed during their student years.

“But you will have the appreciation and memory of those who will never forget how you played your part in a great challenge to our people.”

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Message for Third Level and Further Education Students from President Michael D. Higgins

As this academic year draws to a close, may I send my best wishes to all third level and further education students across the Island of Ireland and wish you good health and every blessing for the future.

This has been an unprecedented year, bringing new and complex challenges to all those currently undertaking further studies. With yourselves and your families I am well aware of the isolation and loneliness some of you will have experienced as lectures and tutorials moved online.

I am mindful of how problematic it has been for many of you to learn and study in cramped or unsuitable environments, while retaining a sense of structure and motivation during long periods of pre-recorded lectures and separation from fellow students.

Once again Covid has not impacted evenly on all, with those with lesser resources
impacted disproportionately,

College years have, of course, been regarded as a time for forging new friendships, broadening social circles and joining societies and groups that allow the flourishing of talents and potential beyond the academic sphere.

It is unfortunate that this enriching experience has not been possible, in the way it was in previous years, at this time because of the necessary response to the pandemic. I have no doubt its absence will have been a source of great disappointment to you all.

These have all been necessary sacrifices, in the interests of public health. But they have also been enormously demanding ones, requiring considerable wells of resilience and moral strength from all of you, who have endeavoured I want to recognise, with such generosity of conscience and assistance, to keep our most vulnerable citizens safe.

As President, I thank you for that spirit of citizenship and your genuine will, in response to that common threat to public health, to relinquish so much in order that we as a nation might navigate our way forward to better days.
You will have missed opportunities to gather together in lecture halls, tutorial rooms and study groups, to engage in the spontaneous debate and discourse that is such an important part of the third level experience.

You may have also been required to cancel or forego graduation ceremonies, social gatherings, musical and sporting events and so many other social activities that are integral to the memories others may have formed during their student years.

But you will have the appreciation and memory of those who will never forget how you played your part in a great challenge to our people.

Some of you will, in the coming weeks, be completing your third level journey and considering the next steps you wish to take on your pathway through life. Others amongst you will be returning to your universities, colleges and institutions this Autumn in what I hope will be very different circumstances from the ones that currently prevail.

All of you, at whatever stage of your academic life you may be, can recall this past year with great pride, taking satisfaction from the fact that you so generously answered the global and local call for solidarity and strength at a most difficult, dangerous and challenging contemporary moment.

May I thank you for the spirit of endurance, humanity and community you have displayed throughout this testing time, a spirit which augurs so well for your futures as active and engaged citizens of whom we can be very proud.

I wish you well in all those futures, in any and every aspect of your lives, wherever they may lead you.

Beir beannacht d’on todchaí.

Michael D. Higgins
Uachtarán na hÉireann
President of Ireland

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Teachtaireacht do Mhic Léinn Tríú Leibhéal agus Breisoideachais ón Uachtarán Mícheál D. Ó hUigínn

Agus an bhliain aisteach acadúil seo ag tíocht chun críche, is mian liom traoslú leo agus gach beannacht a ghuí ar na mic léinn tríú leibhéal agus breisoideachais go léir ar oileán na hÉireann as a niarrachtaí thar ghnáth I gcoinníollacha dúshlánacha.

Beatha agus sláinte chugaibh uilig agus guím gach beannacht oraibh don todhchaí. Bliain í seo nach bhfacthas a leithéid riamh cheana, agus bhí dúshláin mhóra, nua inti do mhic léinn a bhí ag tabhairt faoin mbreisoideachas.

Tuigim go rímhaith an t-uaigneas a bhí ar chuid agaibh de bharr an gá a bhí ann díbh staideár a dheánamh gan bheith i gcuideachta bhur gcomrádaithe léinn agus an brú a chuireadh ar bhur gclann de bharr na léachtaí agus ranganna teagaisc a bheith ar líne seachas sna choláistí.

Tuigim freisin na deacrachtaí ar leith a bhain leis an bhfoghlaim agus an staidéar a dhéanamh go minic san do daltaí aírithe i suímh cúnga, mí-oiriúnacha.

Ní raibh sé éasca oraibh struchtúr agus spreagadh de shaghas éigin a choimeád trí thréimhsí fada de léachtaí réamhthaifeadta, agus gan an tacaíocht ó mhic léinn eile timpeall oraibh.

Arís eile rinne Covid-19 dochar níos measa do ghrúpaí áirithe thar a chéile, agus is iad siúd le heaspa acmhainní is mó a bhí thíos leis.

Cinnte, is gnáth deis iad na blianta ollscoile le caidrimh nua a bhunú, le ciorcail cairdis a leathnú agus le ballraíocht a ghlacadh i ngrúpaí agus i gcumainn spoirt, díospóireachta agus cruthaitheachta, seo a chuidíonn le bláthú na dtallann agus an chumais samhlaíochta taobh amuigh den sféar acadúil.

Is mór an trua í nárbh fhéidir an taithí saibhris seo a bheith ann díbhse i mblíana, mar a bhí i mblianta eile, mar gheall ar an fhreagra a bhí ag teastaíl ar an bpaindéim, ní raibh éalú as.

Níl dabht ar bith orm gur chuir na coinníolacha eisceachtúla seo an-díomá go deo oraibh. Íobairtí riachtanacha ab ea iad seo go léir, ar son sláinte poiblí.

Bhí na híobairtí seo dian áfach, agus bhí mianach agus neart morálta ag teastáil uaibh go léir le dul i ngleic leo. Is mian liom a aithint gur thug sibh faoin iarracht seo go coinsiasach agus go fial, ar mhaithe lenár saoránaigh is goilliúnaí a choimeád slán. Traoslaím libh agus gabhaim buíochas libh.

Mar Uachtarán, aithním i ngach rud a rinne sibh spiorad saoránachta, agus an dea-thoil a léirigh sibh in bhúr bhfreagra ar an mbagairt ar shláinte an phobail.

Is cinnte gur íobairt mór í imeacht ar aghaidh leis an staidéar gan na gnáth deiseanna bualadh le chéile i hallaí léachta, seomraí teagaisc agus grúpaí staidéir, ach rinne sibh í. Traoslaím libh.

Cuid lárnach d’eispéireas na hollscoile iad na deiseanna tábhachtacha seo le tabhairt faoin díospóireacht agus dioscúrsa oscailte. Bain taithneamh astu nuair a bheidh siad ar fail.

Bhí nithe in bhúr saoil a raibh sibh ag súil leo curtha ar ceall. É sin ráite, arís deirim go beidh buíochas agus cuimhne ag dul daoibh i gcónaí as an ról d’imir sibh le linn dúshláz mór dár muintir.

Beidh cuid agaibh, sna seachtainí atá amach romhainn, ag teacht i dtreo dheireadh bhur dturais tríú leibhéal agus ag déanamh machnaimh ar an gcéad chéim eile a thógfaidh sibh ar bhur gcosáin saoil. Go neirí libh ar bhur mbealaigh.

Beidh chuid eile agaibh ansin ag filleadh ar a bhúr n-ollscoileanna, coláistí agus institiúidí an fómhar seo chugainn, tá súil agam i gcúinsí éagsúla ó na cinn atá ann faoi láthair. Bain taithneamh as.

Is féidir libh go léir, beag beann ar an staid ag a bhfuil sibh in bhúr saol acadúil, cuimhnú siar ar an mbliain seo caite le bród agus sásamh gur fhreagair sibh an glaoch, ar leibhéal domhanda agus áitiúil le dlúthpháirtíocht agus neart ag am deacair, dainséarach agus dúshlánach.

Is mian liom mo bhuíochas a ghabháil libh as spiorad na seasmhachta, na daonnachta agus an chomhphobail a léirigh sibh le linn an ama seo. Spiorad í seo a bheidh mar threoraí do bhur dtodhchaí mar shaoránaigh ghníomhacha, dhíograiseacha ar féidir na nglúnta atá le teacht a bheith bródúil astu.

Guím gach rath oraibh sna todhchaí sin, cibé triail a chuirfear os bhur gcomhair, in bhur saolta, atá lán de féidearthachtaí díbh.

Beir beannacht don todhchaí.

Michael D. Higgins
Uachtarán na hÉireann
President of Ireland