This is a speech written by Caolán Maguire for my leaving cert course. This is not a speech by a refugee.
Friends, family, curious listeners, distinguished guests and ladies, and gentlemen.
It is not only a great honor and privilege to stand amongst you today but also a great relief.
Not a relief simply in my survival but the reminder that decency still persists and can never be hushed.
I am flesh and bone proof that despite the cruel, uncompassionate political beliefs that are so cruelly spread about in our time.
The simple bigotry and hatred that has somehow slithered its way into our great chambers of government.
We not as a collection of elected officials but as a people have rejected the words of those who lack any strength of character and opened our arms to those who fled their homes in search for a new one due to war.
To the people of Syria and affected countries that I represent, those who do not believe in hate or anger or death who simply want a new start, a place to rest our heads and a home to raise our kids, you have opened your hearts and your land and there is no greater sacrifice than this.
I’m aware our beliefs of creators and religions differ but I do believe regardless of religion or regardless of faith you all will be gifted with eternal gratefulness by people like me in this life and in the next, for what you have done today represents the best this species of ours has to offer, there is no greater pleasure to any god or any internal morals of our all good people to see their children or fellow people treat one and another with love and decency this is not just the word of my religion, but the words of all religions and all unwritten laws of decency.
In this country of ours, it is difficult to imagine a young man or women having any more difficult tasks to overcome than possibly tests, interviews and the occasional late night shift at work. However, I’m afraid to inform you the youth of my home country don’t have the pleasure of being burdened by these things. I grew up in a house. Much like the homes, you all grew up in. I played games with my sisters, just as you would have. I played games and chased girls just as anyone here did. But all that changed. Not by my maturity or lack of care but by the hateful destruction of war and fear. I stand here to remind you that the actions of a government especially one that was not democratically elected rarely represents the voice of the people.
My voice utters peace, I regret my governments does not.
I could not imagine a finer country nor a more decent people but in all honesty even if this country was a slab of rock and the people cruel, I would not have the ability to complain, because you as a people have steered the choices of your government have raised your voice for what you know is right. You have all reaffirmed that here on earth God’s work is truly our own and that all people deserve peace and the opportunity for peace.
I applaud the people of Ireland for making this issue a moral issue regardless of either side of political hate mongering.
I employ you all with every cell I’ve got and with every atom that makes up those cells to keep fighting for the voices, the left behind and never allow the problems of today be an excuse for the mistakes of tomorrow.
I cannot thank you enough and I can only pray more people learn to reflect your beliefs.
I thank you all.