Ireland's new left-wing president, Michael D. Higgins, has appealed to the nation to spurn the greed that helped bring the country to its knees and to build "an Ireland we all feel proud of."
Higgins became Ireland's symbolic head of state Friday in a reverential Dublin Castle ceremony following his Oct. 27 election triumph. The 70-year-old was flanked by his two presidential predecessors, Mary McAleese and Mary Robinson.
In his nationally televised speech, Higgins called Ireland "wounded as a society, with unacceptable levels of unemployment, mortgage insecurity, collapsing property values and most of all many broken expectations."
Higgins, a champion of Irish arts, says Ireland can best recover by promoting values of equality, charity and creativity.