Irish diaspora and North discussed during meeting with President

Fri, Dec 7, 2012, 00:00

ÁRAS VISIT: The Irish community in the US and the Northern Ireland peace process as a model of resolving conflicts were among the issues discussed by President Michael D Higgins and US secretary of state Hillary Clinton during their meeting yesterday.

Mrs Clinton visited Áras an Uachtaráin at about 1.30pm greeting the President and his wife, Sabina Coyne, warmly. “Ah hello, hello. How are you President? I’m so happy to see you,” she said, accompanied by an entourage of about 30 officials and 12 members of the US media.

After signing the visitors’ book she and Mr Higgins held private talks for about 20 minutes, covering human rights and food security, nutrition and development issues in Africa.

“Wonderful to be back and once again celebrating the strong friendship between our countries and people,” she wrote.

In the US delegation was Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, senior director on Europe, and Phil Gordon, assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs. Irish Ambassador to the US Michael Collins and the President’s special adviser, Mary Van Lieshout, were also present.

Mrs Clinton called into the US ambassador’s residence in the Phoenix Park before her visit to Áras an Uachtaráin. There she met John Hennessey-Niland, deputy chief of mission at the embassy, who stood in for ambassador Daniel Rooney, whose daughter Rita died at the weekend.