- 20 Dec 17
President Michael D. Higgins has delivered a passionate Christmas and New Year message, which he has just been shared on social media.
In it, President Higgins says that the "burden of homelessness will overshadow the festive season for those deprived of a secure and permanent shelter".
President Higgins, who was a columnist with Hot Press for over a decade, also spoke passionately about the refuge crisis, highlighting how "many millions of children, women and men around the world who are so far from the comfort and dignity of a home or secure shelter".
He added: "During 2017, we learned that 20 people are newly displaced every minute, forced to leave their homes, to seek refuge.
"Wars, conflict, persecution, and natural disasters have forced more people to flee than at any other time since records began."
He also said: "(The) ongoing humanitarian crisis emanating from Rakhine State in Myanmar, with its many hundreds of thousands of Rohingya people fleeing to neighbouring Bangladesh reminds us vividly of what some communities face on their long and difficult struggle to find a rightful place in a peaceful society.
"As a global community and as responsible global citizens, we are called upon to respond in a way which will respect the universal right to live in safety and with dignity."
You can watch his speech in full here:
""May I wish each and every one of you, wherever you may be, a peaceful and happy Christmas," he says in the video.