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Dublin: 10 °C Tuesday 19 February, 2019
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President Higgins begins three-day official visit to England with trip to 'significant destination' Birmingham

Speaking today, Higgins recalled those who emigrated from Ireland to Birmingham.

Updated Feb 11th 2019, 3:50 PM

President Michael D Higgins visit to Birmingham President Michael D Higgins in Birmingham today. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

PRESIDENT MICHAEL D Higgins has kicked-off an official visit to England today, with Birmingham and Liverpool on the itinerary for the three-day trip.

The president and his wife Sabina will visit organisations and institutions of importance to the Irish community in the two major cities, and will be joined by Minister of State Pat Breen and Irish Ambassador Adrian O’Neill.

This will be Higgins’ third official visit to Liverpool as president, but his first to Birmingham.

Today, Higgins met with Birmingham Lord Mayor Yvonne Mosquito, which was followed by a civic reception with leading figures from the business, arts and Irish communities in the city.

Speaking this afternoon, Higgins recalled those who’ve emigrated from Ireland to Birmingham, the UK’s second most populous city.

“As I make my first trip to Birmingham as President of Ireland, I am more than aware doing so that I am following in the footsteps of generations of Irish emigrants who left our shores and made their way to Birmingham, settling here and becoming part of the fabric of the city,” Higgins said. 

Higgins also spoke of the city as a “significant destination” for Irish emigrants during the Great Famine (1845-1849). 

Higgins Birmingham. President Michael D Higgins with Birmingham Lord Mayor Yvonne Mosquito this afternoon. Source: Twitter.com

The presidential couple will later visit a memorial to the victims of the Birmingham pub bombings and meet with representatives of the victims’ families. Later today, they will visit the headquarters of the Birmingham Irish Association.

Tomorrow, Higgins travels to Liverpool.

At the University of Liverpool, he’ll be greeted by Prince Charles and they will meet the Institute of Irish Studies staff, students and academics. They’ll both formalise their roles by signing a joint patronage agreement of the institute.

On Wednesday, President Higgins and Sabina will visit the headquarters of the Liverpool Irish Association followed by a reception with members of the Irish diaspora in the city. 

They’ll also take in the Liverpool Library, the Liverpool World Museum and the Liverpool Central Library before returning to Ireland on Wednesday evening. 

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Sean Murray

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