President Michael D Higgins today paid tribute to the power of the spoken word to mark World Radio Day 2016.

"People in Ireland have a special affinity for the spoken word. We inherit a long tradition of storytelling, and in modern times this has translated into the interesting fact that Irish people spend more time than most nations listening to the radio," President Higgins said. 

United Nations radio was established on 13 February 1946.

The objectives of the World Radio Day are to raise greater awareness among the public and the media of the importance of radio; to encourage decision makers to establish and provide access to information through radio; as well as to enhance networking and international cooperation among broadcasters.

The President continued: "Today, on World Radio Day, we are encouraged to remember not only  how Radio has changed our world but also that Radio continues to shape our lives. Just as it has helped change our past it is now shaping our future. 

"In developing countries it has transformed lives by closing the gap between remote rural villages and urban markets. In a rapidly changing Ireland, within a changing global community, we can harness the power of radio to build bridges between people, share information and promote the knowledge and values required to live together as members of a society. 

"In communicating the messages of sustainable development and in responding to climate change, Radio is an invaluable tool and, most importantly, we can use the power of Radio to provide a medium for the voices of those who are too often ignored: the young, the marginalised, the powerless," he said. 

"Our national, local and community radio stations are invaluable resources for empowering the people of this country and further afield. 

As the costs of broadcasting continues to fall, we have an unparalleled opportunity to give voice to the voiceless and to work together to ensure citizens are included in the discussions and decisions that affect their lives. 

"Today, let us celebrate the power of Radio, and let us resolve to use it to the benefit of all," President Higgins concluded.