President returns to Rome after signing Bill


President Michael D Higgins flew back to Rome yesterday afternoon after a dramatic 24-hour period which saw him return to Dublin from Italy on Wednesday night, just hours after arriving in the Italian capital for a three-day visit at the invitation of Italian president Giorgio Napolitano.

The President had returned at short notice yesterday morning in order to sign the Bill to liquidate the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, formerly Anglo Irish Bank.

Looking fresh and well despite his busy travel schedule, the President and Mrs Higgins last night attended a gala concert by Donegal group Altan at Palazzo Quirinale, the residence of the Italian president.

Speaking to reporters not long after his return to Rome, Mr Higgins reflected on the drama of the last two days, explaining why he needed to return to Dublin to follow the crucial moments of the Anglo Irish debate: “Yes, I felt it was necessary that I take the time to consider the legislation that was obviously going to emerge from the Dáil and the Seanad.

“I wanted to give myself the time as well to consider it in some detail. It is a very substantial piece of legislation, of 25 sections but I was fortunate to be able to have the explanatory memo quite early.

“Then I followed the debate when I got back to Áras an Uachtaráin,” he said.

President and Mrs Higgins are due to return to Dublin tomorrow.