President highlights ‘special role’ of neutral countries at unveiling of restored Eire 6 sign

Wars have been a catastrophe for every generation and the “rise of the bellicose language of militarism must end”, President Michael D Higgins has said.

Speaking on Saturday at East Mountain in Howth, Co Dublin, where he formally unveiled the restored “Eire 6” sign, which he said proclaimed Irish neutrality in the Second World War, Mr Higgins said: “I think there is a special role for people and countries that embrace neutrality to be active in making the case for diplomacy to the very end. ”

Referring to the war in Ukraine, Mr Higgins paid tribute to “the brave Ukrainian people who are struggling to defend their homes and their people”.

He said it had been “unthinkable” to many “that Europe could find itself once again embroiled in war again in the 21st century”.

“A great sense of darkness has fallen across the world with the unfolding tragedy in Ukraine,” he said. He said the darkness had “resulted from the invasion by its [Ukraine’s] powerful neighbor [Russia] operating with total disregard for the principles of international law ”.

The President said that “we must always exert all our efforts to avoid war and armed conflict and we must relentlessly pursue a diplomatic approach and particularly involving the multilateral institutions, if we are to avoid bloodshed”.

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