Higgins: I'll support Costa Rica in Brazil
PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins expressed "great sadness" at Ireland's absence from the upcoming World Cup in his first address in Costa Rica.
But he assured his "support" to the recently qualified Costa Rican team, who will be travelling to Brazil next year.
Costa Rica, known as the jewel in the crown of Latin America, is the third and final country of the president's official visit to the region.
Mr Higgins heaped praise on the country, twice voted happiest nation in the world, at a press conference yesterday, describing it as a "regional role model".
He also celebrated the positive ground we have in common.
Unfortunately, one success our two countries did not have in common was a place in next year's World Cup finals, he said.
Costa Rica recently beat Mexico 2-1, winning a place in the Brazil finals.
"While Ireland will not be among those competing in the World Cup Finals next year, Costa Rica will be represented in Brazil. I congratulate you on this wonderful qualification and assure you of my moral support next summer," Mr Higgins said.
In a lunchtime address, he further celebrated Costa Rica's progression, congratulating President Laura Chinchilla on her election and the participation of women in public life – 39pc of the parliament is female.
The presidents discussed the countries' "small open economies" and how we could attract quality investment and support a "thriving exports sector".