I have no doubt that you will share my admiration for today’s remarkable winners and will be as impressed as I am by their stories of success. Even after all these years, I never fail to be moved by the way each and every one of them has overcome the most daunting obstacles. I can not tell you how proud it makes me, of all of them.
When we began our journey in St. John’s earlier this week – and in marking The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee by celebrating the spirit of people and service - our great hope was that we might listen to, and learn from Canadians directly. This hope has been more than fulfilled. We have treasured beyond words the way that so many people have shared with us their experiences, their ideas and their example.
I must say that I have rather subscribed to an outlook shared by many indigenous peoples that we must be thinking seven generations ahead really to have any chance to be sure that we leave a better world behind us. So, what we do today fundamentally impacts the future of our children and our grandchildren.
As we begin this Platinum Jubilee visit, which will take us from the newest member of Confederation to among the oldest communities in the North – and to a much-storied capital at the heart of a great nation – my wife and I look forward to listening to you and learning about the future you are working to build.
The dedication and professionalism of pharmacy staff has been clear, if I may say so, to see during the coronavirus pandemic. Over this unbelievably harrowing period, you, ladies and gentlemen have kept vulnerable people supplied with medicines, played a key part in the N.H.S. vaccination programme. You supported testing and have been a vital source of healthcare advice to millions of people.
The photographs are both incredibly moving and inspiring. Moving - because of the depth of pain and loss that the survivors have endured at the hands of those who claimed to love them, and inspiring - because these photographs show us how survivors can, and do, take back their own identity and their own stories, which have too often been eroded and taken from them by the abuse they have suffered.
I was immensely impressed that you were all able to continue with your courses and successfully graduate, given all the complexities. I know that this will not have been easy and at the end of the day is a great testament to the flexibility and determination of both the staff and every one of you. This same dedication, adaptability and willingness continually to push yourselves will be required time after time in your future careers.
Ladies and gentlemen, whether it is by supporting Ukrainians in their time of need, designing the technology that has helped us fight Covid, developing the innovations that help us better sequester carbon in our landscapes, or teaching our young people how to build a more sustainable, healthier and more prosperous future, the people of Ireland stand alongside the people of the United Kingdom as an example for us all.
If I may say so, It is a particular pleasure that we will be meeting so many people throughout the course of today who have helped this city, county and country throughout this dreadful pandemic – from those who have been on the frontline against Covid, to those who have cared for loved ones and through community groups, and indeed to those remarkable Waterford-based innovators whose Covid tracker app has aided your national response, you are owed a great debt of gratitude.
I cannot even begin to imagine the dreadful conditions, the suffering, the agony you have all had to endure on your way to arrive here in this country. I pray you have been welcomed.