Message from President Higgins on Down Syndrome Awareness Month


Message from President Michael D. Higgins

Down Syndrome Ireland – Awareness Month

October 2023


Mar Phátrún ar Shiondróm Down Éireann, is mór and phribhléid dom mo thacaíocht a chur in iúl agus muid ag druidim le seoladh na míosa feasachta um shiondróm Down Náisiúnta in mí Dheiread Fómhair seo chugainn.

As Patron of Down Syndrome Ireland, it is a privilege to extend my sincere support as we approach the launch of National Down Syndrome Awareness Month this October.

This year, the collective focus  is on “The Transformative Power of Education”. This is an initiative that holds great promise in empowering people with Down syndrome to actively engage in various forms of education, from Adult and Community Education to Further Training and within the university framework.

The theme of this year’s awareness month resonates deeply with my own beliefs and initiatives as President of Ireland. I firmly believe that every individual deserves the chance to learn, grow, to contribute their unique talents, and to participate fully in our diverse society.

Education has always been a cornerstone of societal achievement, social cohesion and personal development. It is a gateway to opportunities, experiences and a source of empowerment, a pathway towards inclusivity and transformation. Education involves not merely the transfer of knowledge, it is also a catalyst for change, a means to unlock potential, and a tool to break down barriers.

As we embark on this journey of promoting education for our citizens with Down syndrome, we are fostering an environment of understand, acceptance, and genuine participation in an environment of equal opportunities for all, regardless of background or circumstances.

It is always inspirational when I hear of people who work with great determination in order that they might achieve their full potential, prepared to overcome all obstacles as they envision and realise all of their wonderful possibilities, serving as an encouragement for others to pursue their dreams, irrespective of any challenges they may face. Indeed, I fondly recall the pleasure of meeting a number of people with Down syndrome, along with their families, at Áras an Uachtaráin, to mark World Down Syndrome Day in 2018.

During National Down Syndrome Awareness Month, let us all come together to celebrate the achievements of those who have already embraced education and to inspire those who are on the cusp of embarking on this transformative path. May I encourage all individuals with Down syndrome across Ireland to seize this moment, to engage in education in its various forms, and to embark on a journey of self-discovery and growth.

May I express my deep gratitude to all at Down Syndrome Ireland for your steadfast commitment to this cause, and I look forward to witnessing the profound impact that education can serve for members, enabling them to greatly enrich our society with their gifts, talent and skills. Your determination, resilience, and courage will undoubtedly shape a brighter, more inclusive future both for yourselves and for our society.

Beir beannacht.


Michael D. Higgins

Uachtarán na hÉireann

President of Ireland

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