The Taoiseach has urged Cork graduates to “verify facts” and “challenge where they come from”.
Micheál Martin made the comments in an address to the University College Cork (UCC) class of 2020.
Almost 5,000 students will graduate from UCC this week in a series of virtual conferring ceremonies.
In the address, the Taoiseach urged graduates to use their education to challenge and verify facts.
“In the current era of change, disruption and threat, the need to challenge, question and verify facts has never been more important. Use your education and the confidence and opportunity it gives you to always check facts and challenge where they come from. Your communities and your society will be relying on you,” he said.
The Taoiseach, who graduated from UCC in 1981 (BA), added: “Young people will govern this country and the world, in due course. As young people heading out into the workplace, you embody the hope for the present and the future for all of the generations ahead of you.”
This year’s Autumn Conferrings commenced this week and will continue until next Tuesday, November 24, with 26 dedicated ceremonies – covering all four Colleges and Adult Continuing Education – being livestreamed across the UCC website.
Among those being conferred this week is Chrisdina O’Neill, a BA History and English graduand who features in My Uni Life, a five-part documentary collaboration between RTÉ and the Irish Universities Association.
Chrisdina – who is from the Traveller community, and is the first member of her family to attend university – entered UCC through its Access programme, which supports students taking different routes into third level education.
Interim President Professor John O’Halloran congratulated the UCC Class of 2020, applauding them and their families for their resilience and dedication.
“No one could have predicted what your final year at UCC would have looked like. I think completing a degree at any time is difficult; at this time, it was incredibly difficult – but you have endured,” he said.
“You have persisted through these times and achieved something remarkable. Your resilience, your hard work and your commitment have brought you to this special moment today.” Professor O’Halloran added that while he was disappointed that the UCC community did not have the opportunity for an on-campus conferring experience, he hopes to honour the occasion again in 2021.