President Michael D Higgins has sent his best wishes to primary school students as they enter the final weeks of a "challenging" school year.

President Higgins said he was "very impressed" with how pupils responded to the sacrifices asked of them throughout the year.

He said: "You have constantly placed the health and safety of others above your own wishes and needs, and that is something of which you, along with your teachers and parents, can be very proud indeed."

Mr Higgins acknowledged that students could not take part in normal school events such as Christmas plays and concerts, sports days, tours and outings, along with religious ceremonies such as First Communions and Confirmations.

He said adults who benefited from their "selfless actions" would never forget the generation of children "who are so generous and so willing to change their behaviour for the benefit of others".

For those moving on to secondary school in September, Mr Higgins said: "I wish you every happiness and success as you start that new chapter in your lives."