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President Michael D. Higgins has made action on climate change one of the key themes of his Presidency.  You can listen to his full speech at the Cork Conference HERE on Sound Cloud (Audio)

President Higgins reminded those present of the often clichéd phrase “we have all being living beyond our means”.  He said, we have not all being living beyond our means, the poor haven’t got the means. We must be careful not to ask the poor to do with less, to give up more as we make the Inter-generational Just Transition. “The starting point is human need”.

“What does sufficient mean?”

Towards the end of his address he spoke warmly when he said “I wish you all a beautiful life and I wish you success as you wish everyone else a beautiful life.” He told the room “I am only interested in being with with people who are emancipators, like those gathered together in this room”.

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Professor Peadar Kirby  (Professor Emeritus of International Politics and Public Policy in the  University of Limerick) was the respondent after the President departed.

He spoke of the need for a “subversion of the assumptions” and explained the word “subversive” as meaning to disrupt from below. He reminded us of the “Nath cainte”, Ar scáth a chéile a mhairimid” (We live in each others shadows and this refers to our dependence upon one another for shelter and shade)

Prof. Kirby quoted St. Hildegard of Bingen in relation to believing in oneself: : “You understand so little of what is around you because you do not use what is within you.”   And as if to further encourage our belief in ourselves he quoted Murray Bookchin (an American social theorist, author, orator, historian, and political philosopher, and a pioneer in the ecology movement) when he said, “If we do not do the impossible we shall be faced with the unthinkable.”  Professor Kirby also reminded those present that this is a struggle we have together and that we can learn much from Laudato Si, as we go forward together.

The ‘wrap up’ gave thanks to all present  for this really wonderful day –  hopefully the first of many such days.


(Note: the detail of the presentations on the day in the News Article above are thanks to Brian O’Toole – (see link to full report at the front of the article).  Other information sources are acknowledged in links throughout the text).