As this year 2008 comes to a close most of us are reflecting on the great changes and global economic turmoil that have occurred in the latter half of the year.
Much of the news that we have received recently in Ireland has been worrisome and we face a more uncertain New Year than we've seen in quite some time.
Nonetheless, it is now more important than ever to view current events through the prism of history's long perspective, to remember the considerable progress that has been achieved in our recent period of remarkable growth and also to take pride in the lasting legacy of peace and reconciliation that has been accomplished on this island.
None of these things happened by accident but by commitment and they made this generation Ireland's most capable, problem-solving generation ever.
Facing into the New Year we will need to draw on that generation's skills and our strengths as a nation. Among our best assets are our exceptional traditions of community involvement and voluntary activities, our culture of taking responsibility for one another's wellbeing and of pulling together through difficulties.
We also have the solidarity and support that comes from membership of the European Union.
With these resources we can muster the confidence to get through the tough times ahead and restore growth and opportunity for all our people.
Christmas is a season of generosity, of gatherings of friends and family, of caring for one another with an even deeper sensitivity. It is our special opportunity to be community to one another and to show our care.
I hope everyone will feel cared for this Christmas in some distinctive way that showcases the best and most noble traditions of Irish people everywhere.
To each one of you, whether members or friends of Ireland's large clan, wherever you are, I send my very best wishes for a very Happy Christmas and a peaceful, safe and prosperous New Year.
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(Source: Áras an Uachtaráin)