President Michael D. Higgins said countries that advocate neutrality have a special role to play, as Ireland has been “a role model to the world” in building sustainable peace over the past 25 years.
He criticized Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and said it was unthinkable that Europe could be drawn into war again.
Speaking in Dublin today at the launch of a restored World War II airborne dog tag, he called for an end to the “belligerent language of militarism” and insisted that Ireland must do its part in building and promoting peace.
“A great sense of darkness has fallen over the world at the looming tragedy in Ukraine resulting from this outrageous act of invasion by her powerful neighbor, acting in complete disregard for the principles of international law,” added Mr. Higgins.
“There is a special role for peoples and countries that advocate neutrality, championing diplomacy to the end and demanding full humanitarian access to all civilians in need.
“We must seize every glimmer of hope through diplomacy, reflecting on the great principle enshrined in the words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its affirmation that ‘the recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the basis for freedom, justice and peace in the world’.”
‘Éire 6’ is a large marker at Howth which was intended to be visible to aircraft flying over or near Ireland during the Second World War.
It was one of 83 similar markers along the coast to alert fighter pilots that they were approaching neutral Irish territory.
The sign had been hidden in the undergrowth for years but was recently uncovered and restored by local community organizations.
Mr Higgins said the restored sign will now serve as a welcome greeting for passengers flying into Dublin Airport and a reminder of the “violent, bloody past that Europe has been through” as he paid tribute to the work of those who helped with the restoration to have.
“Let’s celebrate their achievement, but let’s also remember that this memorial is not passive, it commemorates the horrors of war, the needless destruction and waste of human potential it represents.
“So let’s make all our joint efforts to end the war in Ukraine so that we can live again in a Europe and a world without war,” he added.
The historian of the Royal Irish Academy, Dr. Michael Kennedy, credited the Howth Éire 6 Restoration Group with saving a national artifact.
“The sign is a memorial that tells us about Ireland’s experiences during the Second World War. Once part of the national defense infrastructure, the Howth-Éire mark is now part of our national heritage,” added Dr. Kennedy added.
Aer Lingus was the main sponsor of the project. The company’s corporate affairs officer, Donal Moriarty, said the sign will be a recognizable landmark on its flight routes.
https://www.independent.ie/news/president-michael-d-higgins-says-there-is-a-special-role-for-countries-who-embrace-neutrality-41537386.html President Michael D. Higgins says countries that advocate neutrality have a special role to play