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German president welcomed to Ireland for three-day visit

Frank-Walter Steinmeier was greeted by the Irish president and his wife at Aras an Uachtarain.

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Michael D Higgins with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (Brian Lawless/PA)

Michael D Higgins with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (Brian Lawless/PA)

Michael D Higgins with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (Brian Lawless/PA)

Michael D Higgins welcomed the German president to his Phoenix Park residence on Wednesday, marking the start of a three-day visit by Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

The German head of state arrived at Aras an Uachtarain for an official welcoming ceremony just after 11am.

He was greeted by the Irish president and his wife Sabina Higgins and a guard of honour by the 7th Infantry Battalion from Cathal Brugha Barracks.

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Frank-Walter Steinmeier inspects a guard of honour (Brian Lawless/PA)

Frank-Walter Steinmeier inspects a guard of honour (Brian Lawless/PA)

Frank-Walter Steinmeier inspects a guard of honour (Brian Lawless/PA)

Mr Steinmeier also received a 21-gun salute from the Irish Defence Forces.

After a meeting between Mr Steinmeier and Mr Higgins, the German president planted an Irish oak tree in the grounds of Aras an Uachtarain.

A statement issued after the meeting said climate change and the global vaccination programme were among the topics discussed by the two heads of state.

“President Higgins also thanked Germany for its support during the recent Brexit negotiations, especially in regard to the Northern Ireland Protocol,” it added.

“The importance of building on the strong relationship between both countries post-Brexit was also discussed.”

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Frank-Walter Steinmeier takes part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Garden of Remembrance (Brian Lawless/PA)

Frank-Walter Steinmeier takes part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Garden of Remembrance (Brian Lawless/PA)

Frank-Walter Steinmeier takes part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Garden of Remembrance (Brian Lawless/PA)

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Mr Higgins visited Germany in July 2019, amid uncertainty about Brexit and the shape of the UK’s exit from the EU.

The German president later visited the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin city centre as part of the state visit, where he was greeted by Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney.

Mr Steinmeier stood beside Mr Coveney as a wreath, adorned with a ribbon in the colours of the German flag, was laid in the garden in a short ceremony.

The three-day visit will see Mr Steinmeier, who has been Germany’s president since 2017, visit several locations in Dublin and across the country.

Mr Steinmeier, who arrived with his wife Elke Budenbender and an official delegation, held talks with Taoiseach Micheal Martin on Wednesday afternoon.

On Twitter, Mr Martin said: “We discussed the strong friendship between our two nations, our shared values, and our continued cooperation on the European stage.”

The German president will also meet Lord Mayor of Dublin Alison Gilliland during the visit.

The presidential trip will also include a visit to the University of Limerick, where Mr Steinmeier will meet students.

The German president and his wife will return to Aras an Uachtarain on Wednesday evening for a state dinner.


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