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Property crashed economy - President Michael D Higgins

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President Michael D Higgins with H.E. Dr Mulatu Teshome, President of Ethiopia at The National Palce in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia on the second day of the Presidents 22 day official visit to Ethiopia, Malawi and South Africa.Photo Chris Bellew / Fennell Photography 2014

President Michael D Higgins with H.E. Dr Mulatu Teshome, President of Ethiopia at The National Palce in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia on the second day of the Presidents 22 day official visit to Ethiopia, Malawi and South Africa.Photo Chris Bellew / Fennell Photography 2014

Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography

President Michael D Higgins with H.E. Dr Mulatu Teshome, President of Ethiopia at The National Palce in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia on the second day of the Presidents 22 day official visit to Ethiopia, Malawi and South Africa.Photo Chris Bellew / Fennell Photography 2014

President Michael D Higgins has told world leaders and bankers that our property crash crippled the economy.

Speaking in Africa, the President said our "healthy" economy was "engulfed in a credit-led, speculative property bubble".

Mr Higgins made his remarks in Ethiopia at the United Nations Economic Commission to a group of around 300 world leaders which included representatives from the World Bank.

Mr Higgins told them about Ireland's fight for independence and about the Irish famine.

"We, too, experienced, in addition to the scourges of colonisation, that of hunger - 'the terror of the hungry grass,' as Irish poet Donagh MacDonagh described it," said President Higgins.

"We Irish people were never proud proponents of racial supremacy theories. Over the course of our history, we were more often than not on the receiving end of imperial notions of racial difference and superiority," the President said.

He is on a three-week visit to Africa - which includes the countries Ethiopia, Malawi and South Africa.

Exactly 30 years ago the people of Ireland were rocked by the BBC's footage of the famine in Ethiopia, which claimed one million lives.

And, last night, President Higgins acknowledged Bob Geldof (inset) for his role in alerting the people of Ireland.

"Following on from that broadcast, the Band Aid single and the Live Aid worldwide television broadcast, co-ordinated by Bob Geldof with his urgent and somewhat colourful appeals for donations, alerted many young Irish people for the first time to the ravages of famine in Ethiopia and the complex series of factors behind such plight," said President Higgins.

So far on his official State trip he has visited a refugee camp sheltering 200,000 South Sudanese refugees and today he will go to northern Ethiopia - the epicentre of the 1984 famine.

hnews@herald.ie


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