President Michael D Higgins has called for "a renewed sense of solidarity" this festive season.

In his Christmas and New Year Message, President Higgins he said: "Let us ensure that all those who are vulnerable, in Ireland and across the world, do not walk alone but know that we are willing to travel beside them on their difficult journeys, their journeys of hope."

He said that there are too many people in Ireland who are "missing the necessary securities of home.

"There are those who are concerned for their access to health services and education, for the right to voice their concerns and experience full participation in our republic.

"So, as we recall our shared vulnerabilities this Christmas, let us resolve to forge together a renewed sense of solidarity, one shaped to fit and encompass all our citizens."

Mr Higgins also called for a "renewed commitment to social solidarity" for 2019.

He paid tribute to people who "work tirelessly to support, and stand in solidarity with, those who are marginalised or in need".

Mr Higgins thanked people "whose dedicated work and belief in an active and fully engaged citizenship mark them out as role models in life".