Sunday 18 March 2018

Brian Murphy: President's historic UK trip the crowning glory after years of hard work

The news that President Michael D Higgins is to become the first Irish head of state to make an official state visit to Britain is the culmination of a long and sometimes difficult journey.

Though Sean T O'Kelly is probably best remembered for a colourful speech in which he boasted of "whipping John Bull," he was actually the first Irish President to seek to visit Britain.

This occurred in the immediate aftermath of Ireland formally becoming a republic on Easter Monday, 1949, following on from John A Costello's Ottawa declaration.

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