President Higgins on Official Visit to Italy

Published: Thu 7th Feb, 2013 | 11:50

President Michael D. Higgins will make an official visit to Italy from Wednesday 6th to Saturday 9th February, one of two visits to EU Member States during Ireland’s Presidency of the European Union. Later in February, the President will make an official visit to France.

The President, accompanied by Sabina Higgins, will depart for Italy on Wednesday morning (6th) and will be met on arrival by Mr Patrick Hennessy, the Ambassador of Ireland to the Italian Republic. In the afternoon, President Higgins will give the opening address, ‘Irish studies and the significance of exile and the migratory experience’, at the James Joyce Italian Foundation Conference at the University of Roma Tre. Later in the evening, the President will attend a reception for the Irish community at the Embassy of Ireland, Villa Spada.

On Thursday (7th) the President will visit the Pontifical Irish College where he will be met by the Rector, Fr. Ciarán O’Carroll, as well as the staff and students of the College. Later that day he will attend and address an Irish Business Networking Event in Villa Spada, involving a number of Irish State Agencies and key business contacts. Afterwards he will visit the Church of San Pietro in Montorio, the burial place of Hugh O’Neill and Rory O Donnell.

On Thursday evening the President will meet with the President of the Italian Republic at the Quirinale Palace and will be the guest of honour at a concert and reception hosted by President Napolitano to mark the Irish Presidency of the EU. The Irish traditional music group Altan will perform for the two Presidents and invited guests.

On Friday (8th) the President will visit the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, and meet with its Director General, Mr Jose Graziano da Silva. Later in the day he will visit the Franciscan St. Isidore’s Church whose Rector is Fr. Míchéal MacCraith.

The President and Mrs Higgins will return to Dublin on Saturday (9th February).