St Patrick's Day is the national Irish holiday when we commemorate firstly the memory of the man who brought the Christian Faith to the Emerald Isle in 432AD and also a celebration of what is good and great about us as a people and a country in culture and other fields of life despite the dark times we are going through right now.
It is also a day when we remember in a special way our emigrants who for many and varied reasons but generally economic ones have had to leave "the land of our birth". As a returned emigrant, St Patrick's Day gained in significance while I was away overseas, a day of sadness for being far from kith and kin, but also of joy and pride in being from a little isle on the verge of the mighty Atlantic which, has in its own small way, has contributed to the betterment of society and our world in general through art, music, song, literature, science, peacekeeping under the UN, our many NGO's and volunteers, and of course the contribution of our missionaries to the development in many parts of the world in education, health care and the promotion of human rights in the course of spreading the gospel and witnessing to their faith.
We remember all of our diaspora fondly and as we pause in prayer or raise a glass in honour of St Patrick, from our hearts, we wish them all a very Happy St Patrick's Day from the Emerald Isle!
- 2014 Message for St Patrick's Day from Uachtarán na h-Éireann, Michael D. Higgins.
- Emigration: It's not getting any easier