President Michael D. Higgins visited the Quinn School of Business on Thursday 2oth of February to mark the first student based event of the President of Ireland’s Ethics Initiative.

    The campaign seeks to promote an examination of national ethics and encourage positive change in Ireland. Upon arrival, President Higgins was greeted by a welcoming party, which consisted of UCD Deputy President Mark Rogers, lecturers and students.

    Students were encouraged to complete the sentence “we need to talk about ethics because…” and provide reasons for their decisions in order to stimulate debate and action towards resolving some of these problems. Responses from students were presented to President Higgins on whiteboards and included themes such as human responsibilities of stewardship for the environment, prosperity not based on greed, and emphasising the importance that our ethical decisions will have on the future. Individual answers on whiteboards include that of Doireann Shivnan from Health Sciences, who replied “we need to talk about ethics because the decisions we make shape the society we build.”

    This initiative by the President is to promote national engagement in ethical issues facing the country. Launched on the 14th of February, its goals include provoking discussion, reflection and the formation of new opinions to bring about a national change in attitudes regarding ethics. The campaign is the result of the President’s policy to recognise new forms of thoughts and actions in modern Ireland.

    Commenting on the response of UCD Students, President Higgins said:

“I am particularly pleased that the universities have responded so positively to this initiative and I am delighted to be here at UCD today to meet with the students who will take part in this early debate.

    It is my hope that the individual events and initiatives will lead to and generate an extensive public debate, one that will meet the expectations of our citizens for such values as will enable us to build a sustainable social economy, and a society which is profoundly ethical and inclusive.

    As we leave behind a crisis that caused such reputational damage to our country, this debate will, I hope, contribute to the building of more just and sustainable versions of Ireland’s future.”

    The visit marked the first event of several aimed specifically at students for this campaign. Other activities taking place later in the year include a continuation of the “we need to talk about ethics because…” initiative by Professor Andy Prothero of UCD Business, and events by the UCD School of Philosophy led by Dr. Christopher Cowley focusing on the role of conscience.

Picture: Jason Clarke Photography.