Ireland's ninth President, Michael D. Higgins has received an Honorary Fellowship from the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland in recognition of his outstanding contribution to Irish society.
Admission to Honorary Fellowship is the highest honour the College can bestow. It is reserved for world leaders in medical science and those who have made an exceptional contribution to society.
At the admission ceremony on 28 March 2014, RCPI President, Professor John Crowe, said the College had chosen President Higgins as an Honorary Fellow as the head of State and in that role, as an ambassador for the health of the nation.
"It is a privilege for us to be able to acknowledge your achievements and your contribution to Irish society in this way. Your values, and your work as a politician, an academic and now as head of State, mirror those of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland," Professor Crowe said.
"You are dedicated to supporting the health services in Ireland, as is the College, which is working to improve healthcare standards through education, training of doctors and other healthcare professionals and research. In admitting you to Honorary Fellowship, we are not only formalising the esteem in which you are held by the Fellows of this College, we are also echoing all those who have already acknowledged and praised your accomplishments," he said.
RCPI Treasurer, Professor Conor O’Keane read the citation in Irish at the Fellowship admission ceremony. Paying tribute to President Higgins, Professor O’Keane said, "President Higgins is a social and political scientist, a passionate defender of human rights and social justice at home and internationally, and a gifted promoter of the arts both modern and traditional across genres and forms. It is our pleasure to admit a man of such talents to Fellowship of the College."
Previous recipients of Honorary Fellowship include former Presidents, Eamon DeValera, Erskine Childers, Patrick Hillery, Mary Robinson and Mary McAleese. Other recipients include poet and Nobel Laureate the late Seamus Heaney, former US Ambassador to Ireland, Jean Kennedy Smith, the RT Hon John Hume and Sir Bob Geldof.
Siobhán Creaton, Communications Manager Royal College of Physicians of Ireland
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