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President Higgins pens heartfelt letter to new US president Joe Biden

By Sarah Finnan

January 21, 2021 at 9:05am


"I write to offer my most heartfelt congratulations as you assume the Office of the President of the United States of America."

President Higgins has extended the hand of friendship to new US president Joe Biden, writing him a heartfelt letter congratulating him on the new role and offering him some words of wisdom to help him on his journey.

Addressing the letter to "Mr President, Joe, a chara", it reads:

"There can be no greater honour than to be given the trust of one's fellow citizens to lead and no greater responsibility than to vindicate that confidence by having their interests, their welfare and their aspirations at the forefront of all that we do."

Acknowledging that there is great change on the horizon, Higgins recognised that there will also be challenges - telling his US counterpart that we must face those together. Hoping to provide some wisdom, Michael D offered up his favourite seanfhocail to hearten Biden for the long road ahead.

"There is an Irish saying which you may know. 'Is ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann an daoine'. It means that we live in each other's shadow and in each other's shelter.

"It reminds me that we are all interconnected, we are all interdependent, we all have an effect on each other on this fragile planet that we share".

Going on to say that "the US has been a true friend to Ireland in so many ways", President Higgins thank Biden for his own personal friendship and support over the years. Wishing him well on all that's to come, he left him with some poetry...  though not from James Joyce this time but rather John O'Donoghue.

Though your destination is not yet clear

You can trust the promise of this opening;

Unfurll yourself into the grace of beginning

That is at one with your life's desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;

Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;

Soon you will be home in a new rhythm

For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

You can read the full contents of the letter below.

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