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Taoiseachs New Year Message


At this time of year it is good to reflect on things past and to look forward to the coming year.

2001 was in some ways a difficult year for many in our community, with unanticipated events both nationally and internationally. By working together we can be proud of all our efforts to respond to these events.

Ireland can also be proud of its role in international affairs. We chaired the UN Security Council during the turbulent times following the events of September 11. For a small country we showed that we could play our role on the world stage.

The attacks of September 11 were truly an assault on democracy and the freedom that we enjoy. I visited the site of the disaster recently and even now it is difficult to comprehend the scale of the destruction and loss of innocent life. Our thoughts remain with the victims, their families and friends.

We can take hope from the courage and the will to overcome such tragedy, which was displayed by all the families.

Over the past four years Irelands economy has been the envy of more than just our EU partners. While we enjoyed unprecedented growth, we have not been immune to the slowdown in the global economy. Yes, we are in a period of economic uncertainty but we enter 2002 in a very strong position and we will be well placed to take advantage of the predicted upturn.

In Europe, the advent of the EURO currency is a great achievement for the twelve members participating. It presents both a great opportunity and a continuing challenge in the further development of the Union.

To all Irish people everywhere, particularly those Irish Missionaries working abroad, and those with the many charitable organisations, may I wish you all a happy and peaceful New Year. May your work continue to be rewarding and fulfilling and an inspiration for our young people to seek to make life better for others both at home and abroad.

I also look forward, as does the rest of the nation, to our soccer team flying the Irish flag in Japan and Korea in June and I know theyll do us proud.