President expresses her hopes of a lasting peace
The President, Mrs McAleese, has expressed the hope that "the peace that has been bestowed on this island will be our gift to the next generation and that it will extend to every war-torn part of the globe". In her Christmas message yesterday she reflected on the commitment and generosity of the Defence Forces, clergy and religious and others who would be away from home this Christmas helping others. "Their sacrifice and selflessness is renowned and lauded internationally," she said, adding that "they bring Ireland's ethos of caring and sharing to the poor and the hungry across the globe, reminding us in doing so of our common humanity and shared responsibility for all God's family".
She hoped the spirit of the holy season would give courage and comfort to those in need and that the generosity of everyone who shared what they had with those less fortunate would be rewarded.
Above all she prayed that "the spirit of peace and neighbourliness which Christmas inspires in us will serve to deepen our respect for, and understanding of, the needs and aspirations of all the traditions on this island in the cause of securing a lasting peace".