By Ciarán Sunderland
President Michael D Higgins has urged people to show solidarity and concern for each other in fighting the coronavirus outbreak.
In his St Patrick’s Day message, he said it is important communities come together in the weeks ahead.
The President said: “Today, as the world faces the global spread of the coronavirus we are called more than ever to follow the values embodied in the story of St Patrick.”
Those values of solidarity and concern for the well-being of our fellow citizens will play a fundamental role in our effective confronting of the challenge with which we are now presented.
Mr Higgins added: “It is a challenge that calls on the tradition and practice of our communities working together, recognising the needs of all their members, and in particular those who are most vulnerable.”
“So often, as President of Ireland, I have been inspired and uplifted by the generous spirit of unity that I have witnessed in communities across the country.
“I have seen so many examples of care and compassion where communities have come together to look after their elderly and sick, and to ensure the welfare of those who are vulnerable and marginalised.”
The President sent out his St Patrick’s day card which features a new statue installed in Áras an Uachtaráin.
The President’s office issued a statement that there will be no Saturday tours of Áras an Uachtaráin, following government Covid-19 guidelines. Mr Higgins finished his speech by wishing “all those who form part of the Irish family, a happy and peaceful St. Patrick’s Day.”