President Michael D. Higgins on an official visit to Liverpool and Birmingham
Date: Tue 5th Feb, 2019 | 11:42
President Michael D. Higgins will make a three-day official visit to Birmingham and Liverpool this month, visiting organisations and institutions of importance to the Irish community.
This visit by President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins to two major cities in Britain continues the President’s programme of connecting with the Irish diaspora. This visit to Birmingham and Liverpool also highlights the strong and diverse relationships between Ireland and the United Kingdom.
This will be the first official visit by President Higgins to Birmingham, and the President’s third official visit to Liverpool. Among the President’s many engagements with political, business and community leaders is an event at the University of Liverpool, where the President and HRH The Prince of Wales will make a joint visit to formalise their roles as joint Patrons of the University’s Institute of Irish Studies.
The President, who will be accompanied by Sabina Higgins and Minister of State Pat Breen, T.D., will be met on arrival in Birmingham by the Irish Ambassador, Mr. Adrian O’Neill.
On the first day of his visit, 11 February 2019, the President will meet with the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Ms. Yvonne Mosquito. The meeting will be followed by a civic reception with leading figures from the business, arts and Irish communities in the city.
The President and Sabina will visit the memorial to the victims of the Birmingham pub bombings, where the President will meet with representatives of the victims’ families.
Later that afternoon, President and Sabina Higgins will visit the headquarters of the Birmingham Irish Association and meet the trustees and staff of the association and with older members of the Irish community in the city.
On 12 February, President Higgins will begin his official visit to Liverpool.
This will be the President’s third official visit to Liverpool:
- In July 2015, President Higgins delivered a speech on the importance of inclusive education, having been awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws by the University.
- In November 2012, President Higgins delivered the John Kennedy Lecture, entitled ‘Liverpool and its Irish Migrants’, at the University’s Institute of Irish Studies.
At the University of Liverpool, President Higgins will be greeted by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, who will be accompanied by the Duchess of Cornwall, at the University’s Victoria Gallery and Museum. The President and HRH The Prince of Wales will meet Institute of Irish Studies staff, students and academics.
President Higgins and the Prince of Wales are joint patrons of the University’s Institute of Irish Studies. The Institute works to encourage greater understanding and promote mutually enriching contact between Britain and Ireland. The President and his Royal Highness have each sought to promote a vision of constructive relationships between the two islands which are preserving our unique characters and embody the richness of our interdependence.
The President and His Royal Highness will attend an event celebrating and solemnising their support for the work of the University. The patrons will meet with representatives from Liverpool Irish Centre, Irish Community Care (Merseyside), Liverpool Irish Festival and Irish businesses, as well as Irish Special Needs teachers working in the region, and donors, friends and alumni of the Institute.
Following this, The Prince of Wales and President Higgins will sign the joint patronage agreement.
In the afternoon, President Higgins will address a lunch with business leaders, in support of the work of Enterprise Ireland and the IDA, followed by a meeting with the Mayor of Liverpool, Mr. Joe Anderson.
On the third day of his visit to the UK, 13 February, the President will visit the headquarters of the Liverpool Irish Association, followed by a reception with members of the Irish diaspora in the city.
In the afternoon, President and Sabina Higgins will visit the Liverpool Library which contains archive material of Irish interest, including documents relating to those fleeing from the Great Famine and to Jim Larkin in the Trade Union Movement. They will then visit the Liverpool World Museum, which contains artefacts reflecting Liverpool’s varied history as a port city with significant Irish and other migratory influences, and the adjacent Liverpool Central Library.
The President and Sabina Higgins will depart for Dublin later on Wednesday.