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World diplomats gather to greet our new President

THEY came from all four corners of the globe to shake the hands of Ireland's new President, Michael D Higgins.

Mr Higgins yesterday hosted a multi-cultural, new year's reception at Aras an Uachtarain for the representatives of the diplomatic corps of more than 50 countries.

As is traditional on January 18 each year, the diplomatic corps gathered to present new year greetings to the President.

Among the delegation was the Ambassador of Ethiopia, Lela-alem Gebreyohanes -- who cut a dashing figure in traditional dress -- her daughter Aden (6) and the ambassador of Nigeria, Angela Hwonghei Pwol.

Usually the President gives a short address and then the dean of the diplomatic corps, who is the papal nuncio to Ireland, replies on behalf of the assembled ambassadors.

However, because the new papal nuncio Msgr Charles J Brown is not, as yet, in place, the acting dean, Austrian ambassador Dr Walter J Hagg, made the reply this year.

It was the first time an acting dean had carried out this official duty.

The formal occasion saw a number of Irish ambassadors, living in London and other capitals, fly over for the event.

Mr Higgins spoke of the invaluable work of diplomats around the world.

Irish Independent