Michael D. Higgins Reclaiming The European Street: Speeches on Europe and the European Union


Code 9781843517948
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This timely and important intervention in the debates concerning Europe in Ireland begins with the 1916 Centenary celebration. The Brexit decision of June 2016 has fundamentally altered Ireland's relationship with the European Union and has exponentially increased interest in European matters in public debates. Yet, public discussions regarding Ireland's closer links with the European Union often remain purely utilitarian and economic, or take place solely within academia.

There is an urgent need to broaden the debate towards the cultural and social spheres, which includes highlighting the inherently European quality of Irish culture and society, in the past as much as the present. The most extensive interventions on these issues in recent years have come from the President of Ireland.

This edition collects all of the major speeches on the topic of Europe since 2016. They encompass interventions on historical aspects, bilateral cultural links, citizens' involvement in the European project, workers' rights and ecological concerns. The present Covid-19 crisis will further move the European Union into the limelight, in particular its role in helping member states cope with the consequences of this unprecedented disaster.

President Higgins addresses the Great Flu Epidemic of 1918-19 from a speech made in May 2019 and considers the role of European leaders in a letter to the President of the Hellenic Republic in April 2020. These speeches are marked by the President's particular and personal stamp, while also expressing central concerns on behalf of Irish citizens. The speeches are enhanced by a Foreword written by President Michael D. Higgins.

About the Author

Michael D. Higgins is an Irish politician, poet, sociologist, and broadcaster who has served as the ninth President of Ireland since November 2011. He was also a senator for the National University of Ireland and was the President of the Labour Party from 2003 to 2011, until he resigned following his election as President of Ireland.

He made the first state visit by an Irish president to the United Kingdom in April 2014. Professor of European Cultural Studies at the University of Limerick and has been a driving force in European Studies at his institution for three decades. NIHE Limerick was set up in 1972 and has remained a major centre for European Studies in Ireland ever since.

Prof. Fischer is Course Director of its undergraduate programme in European Studies which is among the longest-established such programmes in the world.

Dr habil. Fergal Lenehan (BA and MA UCD, PhD Leipzig, Habilitation Jena) has been lecturing in Intercultural Communications and European Studies at the Friedrich-Schiller Universitat Jena (Germany) for over a decade. His comparative study of intellectual discourses on Europe in Ireland, Britain and Germany (Trier 2014) is a key contribution to this under-researched field.

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