President Higgins to visit France

Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina are shown round the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, London during a visit last year. Photograph: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina are shown round the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, London during a visit last year. Photograph: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Thu, Feb 14, 2013, 00:00

President Michael D Higgins will make an official visit to France on Sunday.

The trip is the second of two overseas engagements during Ireland’s presidency of the European Union.

The President’s official trip to Italy was interrupted last week when he had to fly back to Dublin to sign emergency legislation on the future of Ireland’s debt.

Mr Higgins and his wife Sabina will fly to Paris, where they will be met on arrival by Paul Kavanagh, the Ambassador of Ireland to France.

On Monday morning the President will be presented with military honours at L’Arc de Triomphe, before delivering an address entitled Defining Europe in the Year of the European Citizen at Paris-Sorbonne University.

That afternoon the pair will visit the Elysee Palace where they will meet French president Francois Hollande.

Later Mr Higgins will view an exhibition of the work of furniture designer and architect Eileen Gray at the Centre Pompidou and attend a dinner at the Irish Embassy to mark the exhibition.

Official engagements on Tuesday include delivering a speech at the Paris headquarters of Unesco, addressing a Franco-Irish business networking lunch and speaking at a reception for the Irish community at the Irish Embassy.

On Wednesday morning the President will lay a wreath in memory of Jean Monnet, one of the founding fathers of the European Union, at the Pantheon and visit the College des Irlandais where he will view an exhibition of ceramics by artist Deirdre McLoughlin.

The couple will return home to Áras an Uachtaráin on Wednesday night.

PA

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