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Vatican visit

Climate Bells: The gift Michael D Higgins gave Pope Francis today

President Higgins was expected to discuss ‘issues of global importance’ with the Pope in the Vatican today.

PRESIDENT MICHAEL D Higgins has given Pope Francis a Climate Bell today as part of his visit to the Vatican.

The artwork is meant to signify the community effort that President Higgins believes is needed to limit climate change.

The hand bell is the fifth in the Climate Bell series by artist Vivienne Roche, and was inspired by the address by President Higgins gave at the Summit of Conscience for Climate 2015.

In that address, Higgins said that “each citizen will be just as decisive in reaching the ambitious agreement mankind needs” as heads of state.

Pope Francis Meets Michael D. Higgins President of Ireland - Vatican This particular bell, the fifth bell in the series, is called a 'Mother Earth Bell'. ABACA / PA Images ABACA / PA Images / PA Images

The President and his wife Sabina Higgins have travelled from Rome from Venice, where he attended the Biennale, the world’s largest and oldest international art exhibition.

At the exhibition, Higgins will visit the Irish pavilion and meet with artist Jesse Jones and representatives from organisations involved in the exhibition, including Culture Ireland and the Arts Council.

Pope Francis Meets Michael D. Higgins President of Ireland - Vatican ABACA / PA Images ABACA / PA Images / PA Images

The President had a private meeting with Pope Francis where the two leaders were expected to “discuss issues of regional and global importance”.

A spokesman for the President said: “Following the meeting with the Pope, the President will have a meeting with Cardinal Parolin, the Secretary of State of the Vatican.

“In the afternoon, the President will meet with Irish clergy and lay staff working at the Vatican, at a reception at the Irish College in Rome.”

With reporting from Gráinne Ní Aodha

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