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The President’s Speech

Deirdre’s Diary

The President's Speech

A warm welcome from President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina

Earlier this month, the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina hosted an event at Áras an Uachtaráin to celebrate female entrepreneurship, innovation, creativity and the sustainable economy. As a volunteer Lead of the ACORNS programme, I felt honoured and delighted to be invited to such a prestigious event.

ÁRAS AN UACHTARÁIN

When the taxi driver asked “where to?”, it was with a flurry of excitement that I said “take me to Áras an Uachtaráin please”! As we drove along the treelined driveway, the ‘big house’ seemed to be waiting there to greet me. The Irish flag seemed to be waving hello to me. It was time to meet our President and his wife. I had a lovely chat for a few minutes with both of them. It really was one of the proudest moments of my life and a memory that I will cherish forever.

In his speech, the President referred to the contribution of Irish women, not only to our independence, our culture, our society and our economy, but also to continuation of the undoing of the marginalisation of women. His words came from the heart and they touched my heart.

GLASS CEILINGS

“One hundred years ago, women smashed windows in order to highlight a gross inequity in our society. Today many women find themselves being confronted by glass ceilings in their places of work, ceilings that deny them equality in the workplace; deny them access to the same promotional opportunities, pay and respect that is accorded to their male counterparts. As a country that aspires to be a true democracy we owe a great debt of gratitude to women like you, who continue to break down the barriers and overcome the obstacles that prevent women from being equal participants in all aspects of society. I thank and commend you for that”

The President's Speech

ACORNS Leads at the Áras

The President said that Ireland needs more women in business, women to pave the way, to provide inspiring role models for other women. When it comes to entrepreneurship here in Ireland, women make up just twenty percent, or one in five, of all of Ireland’s entrepreneurs. Research would suggest that, while Ireland has all of the right conditions for businesses owned and led by women to thrive, motivation and self-belief continues to be a significant limiting factor.

As his speech came to a close, it was an emotional moment when I felt blessed amongst the amazing women beside me and a deep respect and admiration for the man before me, the President of Ireland.

ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT

“I thank each and every one of you for your entrepreneurial spirit, your determination and your vision which have helped to not only build your own success stories, but are also contributing to Irish society. Your willingness to innovate, take chances and turn dreams into realities, are a greatly inspiring example of the qualities that are necessary in all areas of our shared lives if we are to craft, together, a future of hope and possibility”.

Deirdre McGlone

May 2018

Deirdre McGlone
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