NUI Honorary Conferring Ceremony on the President of Ireland, His Excellency, Michael D. Higgins

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Pictured (L-R) Vice-Chancellor of NUI and President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne; President of Ireland, His Excellency, Dr Michael D. Higgins; and Chancellor of NUI, Dr Maurice Manning
Pictured (L-R) Vice-Chancellor of NUI and President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne; President of Ireland, His Excellency, Dr Michael D. Higgins; and Chancellor of NUI, Dr Maurice Manning

At a ceremony in Dublin Castle, the Chancellor of the National University of Ireland, Dr Maurice Manning conferred the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD) on the President of Ireland, His Excellency, Michael D. Higgins.

In his introductory citation, Dr James J. Browne, Vice-Chancellor of NUI and President of NUI Galway defined the conferring as ‘honouring an extraordinary man who personifies and combines so many decencies that, taken individually, we perceive to be ordinary’.

In a phrase used by the late President Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh to characterise the role of President, Dr Browne said that  ‘As the ninth President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins is, somewhat paradoxically, the primus inter pares or first among equals’.

Referring to the President’s election, Dr Browne said that his ‘radical egalitarianism animated his claim to be elected as Uachtarán na hÉireann in 2011. It posited a moral choice not between the state and the market but between two versions of the state. We were invited to reconceive the role of government in a re-imagined state and to engage without shame in an ethically informed public conversation about the choices that this would entail’.

‘It was an unapologetic claim that placed ethics before competence in what he prescribed as ‘a real Republic’. It challenged the Irish people to accept that adjustment by daring to re-imagine and revive almost-forgotten decencies. Over one million voters rose to that challenge’.

Dr Browne summarised the President’s political career in the following terms:  ‘First elected to Dáil Éireann in 1981, he represented Galway-West as a T.D. until 2011. Michael D. Higgins has identified, amplified and championed the rights and interests of communities that he described as “comhluadar faoi bhrón”. He did so without fear, using everything at his disposal: politics, sociology, broadcasting, journalism and poetry. In 1992, he was the first recipient of the Seán MacBride Peace Prize from the International Peace Bureau in Helsinki, in recognition of his work for peace and justice in many parts of the world’.

Dr Browne concluded in saying ‘the Presidency of Michael D. Higgins may well reverse the adage of campaigning in poetry but governing in prose. Already, he is asserting the true value of rhetoric, purposefully and forthrightly deployed, evincing the defining quality of this truly extraordinary man – integrity’.

Following the conferring, the President addressed the gathering. The large attendance in St Patrick’s Hall included representatives of the Government, the Council of State, the judiciary, the diplomatic corps, in addition to members of the four NUI constituent universities and other Irish universities. Notable amongst the attendants were many former colleagues of the President from NUI Galway where he lectured in the Department of Sociology for over thirty years.  National cultural institutions and the media were also represented.

It is a longstanding tradition of the National University of Ireland to confer an honorary degree on the President following his or her inauguration. Dr Douglas Hyde received an honorary degree from the Royal University of Ireland in 1906. NUI has honoured all Presidents since 1952 with the exception of Dr Eamon de Valera, who was Chancellor of the University while in office.


See this link for the conferring citation delivered by President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne

See link below for the full version of the conferring address delivered by His Exellency, President of Ireland, Dr Michael D. Higgins
http://www.president.ie/index.php?section=5&speech=1053&lang=eng

Ends.

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Céim Oinigh OÉ le bronnadh ar Uachtarán na hÉireann, a Shoilse, Mícheál D. Ó     hUiginn   


Bronnfaidh Seansailéir Ollscoil na hÉireann, an Dr Maurice Manning an chéim oinigh, Dochtúir le Dlíthe (LLD), ar Uachtarán na hÉireann, a Shoilse Mícheál D. Ó hUiginn ag searmanas i gCaisleán Bhaile Átha Cliath.

Ina thagairt tosaigh, dúirt an Dr James J. Browne, Leas-Seansailéir an OÉ agus Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, go raibh an bronnadh ‘ag tabhairt aitheantais d’fhear neamhghnách a thugann chun saoil an oiread sin dea-thréithe, agus dá mbreathnóimis ar gach aon cheann acu sin astu féin níorbh iontach linn iad ar chor ar bith.

I ráiteas a d’úsáid an tUachtarán Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh, nach maireann, chun cur síos a dhéanamh ar ról an Uachtaráin, dúirt an Dr Browne ‘Mar an naoú Uachtarán ar Éirinn tá Mícheál D. Ó hUiginn, go paradacsúil, mar primus inter pares nó an chéad duine dá leithéid ina chomhluadar’.

Agus é ag tagairt do thoghchán an Uachtaráin, dúirt an Dr Browne gurb é a ‘chothromas radacach a chabhraigh lena iarracht a bheith tofa mar Uachtarán na hÉireann in 2011. Leag sé síos rogha morálta idir dhá leagan den stát seachas idir an stát agus an margadh. Tugadh cuireadh dúinn ról an rialtais a athcheapadh i stát athchruthaithe agus páirt a ghlacadh, gan náire, i gcaidreamh poiblí eiticiúil faoi na roghanna a bheadh i gceist leis seo’.

‘Éileamh gan leithscéal a bhí ann a chuir eiticí roimh inniúlacht sa rud ar thug sé féin an ‘fhíor-Phoblacht’ air. Thug sé dúshlán mhuintir na hÉireann glacadh leis an athrú sin trí bheith sách dána chun dea-thréithe a bhí ligthe i ndearmad a thabhairt chun beochta arís. Ghlac os cionn milliún den lucht vótála leis an dúshlán sin’.

Rinne an Dr Browne achoimre ar ghairm pholaitiúil an Uachtaráin mar seo a leanas:  ‘Toghadh mar bhall de Dháil Éireann ar dtús é i 1981, agus sheas sé do Ghaillimh Thiar mar T.D. go dtí 2011. D’oibrigh Mícheál D. Ó hUiginn ar son leasa na bpobal ar thug sé ‘chomhluadar faoi bhrón’ orthu. Rinne sé é sin gan aon fhaitíos ach ag tarraingt ar an bpolaitíocht, an tsocheolaíocht, an chraoltóireacht, an iriseoireacht agus an fhilíocht. I 1992, ba é an chéad duine é a fuair Duais Síochána Sheáin Mhic Giolla Bhríde ón mBiúró Síochána Idirnáisiúnta i Heilsincí, mar aitheantas ar a shaothar ar son na síochána agus an cheartais ar fud an domhain’.

Chuir an Dr Browne críoch lena óráid ag rá ‘tá an nath ann go ndéantar feachtais i bhfilíocht agus rialú i bprós ach le huachtaránacht Mhícheál D. Ó hUiginn d’fhéadfadh a mhalairt a bheith fíor. Cheana féin, tá sé ag baint an leasa chirt as reitric, d’aon turas agus go neamhbhalbh, ag léiriú cad é an tréith is mó atá ag an bhfear iontach seo – ionracas’.

I ndiaidh an tsearmanais bhronnta, labhair an tUachtarán leo siúd a bhí i láthair. I measc an tslua mhóir a bhí i Halla Naomh Pádraig bhí ionadaithe ón Rialtas, Comhairle an Stáit, an bhreithiúnacht, an cór taidhleoireachta, chomh maith le comhaltaí ó cheithre chomh-ollscoil an OÉ chomh maith le comhaltaí ó ollscoileanna Éireannacha eile. I measc na ndaoine iomráiteacha eile a bhí i láthair bhí iar-chomhghleacaithe an Uachtaráin ó OÉ Gaillimh, áit a raibh sé ina léachtóir sa Roinn Socheolaíochta ar feadh breis agus tríocha bliain.  Bhí daoine  ann chomh maith ó na hinstitiúidí cultúrtha náisiúnta agus ó na meáin.

Is traidisiún fada é go mbronnann Ollscoil na hÉireann céim oinigh ar an Uachtarán i ndiaidh a (h)insealbhaithe. Bhronn Ollscoil Ríoga na hÉireann céim oinigh ar an Dr Dubhghlas de hÍde sa bhliain 1906. Bhronn an OÉ céimeanna oinigh ar gach Uachtarán ó 1952 i leith seachas an Dr Eamon de Valera, a bhí mar Sheansailéir ar an Ollscoil agus é in oifig.

Críoch.

Keywords: Friends, Law

Author: Marketing and Communications Office, NUI Galway
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