President Michael D Higgins rounded off his visit to Liscarroll with a visit to The Donkey Sanctuary on 15th November 2013 where he officially opened an extension to the walkway.
"My mother was born and raised here in Liscarroll and my father visited and worked in what you would call the North Cork Brigade general area, and long before I was elected president I had wanted to come here to pay tribute to Paddy Barrett and those original people who had the idea of a donkey sanctuary and all who made it possible over the years to expand and provide the extraordinary care that it does now," the President said.
"I was very delighted to be asked by Paddy to join you here and to open the extension to the Donkey Sanctuary walkway, which will allow visitors to call in and become close to these soft eyed, long eared residents.
"It is often pointed out that a donkey and its mate can stay together for years and that even a short separation can be very stressful, and in this sanctuary I think the fact that the donkeys are left in pairs of their own making is very impressive."
Noting that the sanctuary provides care and protection for over 1,100 donkeys and mules, Michael D said it also provided "a wonderful education and experience" for an increasing number of people who have only "tenuous links with the rural world".
He commended the staff, the volunteers and supporters for all the work which benefits the animals and invariably benefits us. "Nowadays we need to realise that animal welfare is really very important. It is my belief that in these, the first decades of the 21st Century, that new relations between humans and animals are being tempered for the better as consciousness develops and this is affirmed in places like here at The Donkey Sanctuary," the president concluded.