Higgins begins South America trip with Chile rebel tribute
PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina have arrived in Santiago in Chile as they begin of a two-week official visit to South America, writes Majella O'Sullivan.
It is the president's first trip to Chile since 1988 when he was part of an international team of observers of the plebiscite that voted in favour of putting an end to the 16-year military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet.
Mr Higgins will also visit Brazil and Argentina. The three countries have the strongest historic, diaspora and economic ties with Ireland and he will meet representatives of their Irish communities.
His official duties begin today in the Chilean capital with a wreath-laying ceremony for independence leader, 'El Libertador' Bernardo O'Higgins, who helped free Chile from Spanish rule and whose father Ambrose was born in Co Sligo.