Nine-year-old dog Bród an ‘experienced diplomat,’ Higgins tells Macron

Nine-Year-Old Dog Bród An ‘Experienced Diplomat,’ Higgins Tells Macron
Bród, one of President Michael D Higgins' dogs. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire.
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By James Ward, PA

President Michael D Higgins informed Emmanuel Macron that his nine-year-old Bernese Mountain dog Bród is an “experienced diplomat” as the French President visited Ireland on Thursday.

Mr Macron arrived at the Irish President’s residence in Dublin’s Phoenix Park at around 10.30am on Thursday, accompanied by his wife Brigitte.

The two presidents discussed a range of topics including the future of the European Union post-Brexit, social Europe, Africa, and the global Covid-19 vaccination programme. Climate change and the ongoing situation in Afghanistan, Ethiopia and Haiti were also on the agenda.

As the two later walked in the garden of Aras an Uachtarain, Mr Higgins’s two dogs, Bród and Misneach, who have become somewhat famous in Ireland, came bounding out to greet the pair.

Mr Higgins’s dogs Bród and Misnaech gave a warm welcome to the French president (Maxwells/PA)

Mr Higgins joked “this is an experienced diplomat, he is nine years old”, as he spoke about Bród, the older of his two Bernese Mountain dogs.


He also told Mr Macron that Misneach means “courage” in Irish.

Later in the day, Mr Macron met with Taoiseach Micheál Martin.

Mr Martin said links between Ireland and France “have never been stronger” and described the two nations as the “oldest and best of friends” as he welcomed Mr Macron to Government Buildings.

Over lunch the pair discussed a broad range of issues, including Afghanistan, climate change and the EU’s response to the pandemic, in what the Taoiseach described as a “very warm and useful” meeting.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin during a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron at Government Buildings in Dublin (Brian Lawless/PA)

He said: “France and Ireland are the oldest and best of friends.

“Ours is a friendship that has endured and evolved over the centuries. From the safe harbour offered to French Huguenots in Ireland or to the Wild Geese in France; to the inspiration Irish republicans drew from the French Revolution; to the rich cultural connections, especially in the area of literature, that we will mark today; to the past almost five decades of close partnership in the European Union, Ireland and France have stood together.

“The links between us are deep, and they have never been stronger.

“I am proud, Mr President, to have this opportunity to celebrate them with you today.”

'Warm welcome'


President Macron thanked the Taoiseach for the “warm welcome.”

He vowed that Ireland will always have the support of the EU when it comes to Brexit negotiations.

He said it was “not for France to put pressure” on Ireland over its corporate tax rate, but said Ireland should “lead” on the issue, pointing to the OECD recommendation for a minimum rate of 15 per cent – compared to Ireland’s 12.5 per cent.

French President Emmanuel Macron with Taoiseach Micheál Martin at Sweny’s pharmacy, the Dublin chemist shop in James Joyce’s novel Ulysses. (Julien Behal/PA)

After the meeting, the two leaders went for a walk around Dublin, taking in Sweny’s pharmacy, one of the locations from the James Joyce novel Ulysses.

Mr Macron’s delegation included foreign affairs minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, finance minister Bruno Le Maire, European affairs minister Clement Beaune and the French ambassador to Ireland, Vincent Guerend.

The French President also visited Trinity College, where he visited the Long Library, before taking questions from students, and delivering a message of hope to those present.

“When you listen to the news and listen to experts, it can be not just disappointing but gloomy, and full of fears, threats and so on. But let me tell you we are doing our best to deal with these challenges.

“Sometimes we make mistakes, sometimes we make the right decisions.


“We do all of this to give you a place where you are entitled to take your own decisions.

“But for sure your generation will have to face a lot of challenges and this is pretty unique in our common history. Don’t give fears, just think about solutions.”

French President Emmanuel Macron with Taoiseach Micheál Martin meets locals while on a walkabout in Dublin city centre, during his first official visit to Ireland (Brian Lawless/PA)

Mr Macron also travelled to the Guinness Enterprise Centre to meet with Irish and French entrepreneurs based in the facility and discuss the impact the centre has had on the development of the local area.

Macron says Ireland must lead on corporate tax ref...
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He is then set to return to Aras an Uachtarain for a reception in his honour.

On the menu, which was presented in Irish and French, was a salad of Dublin Bay prawns, flaked lobster, pickled beats, avocado and organic citrus rocket for starter.

The main course was a rack and loin of organic Wicklow lamb, herb crust, celeriac potatoes and garlic, choice of small vegetables, sweet port and red berry sauce. For dessert is Wexford strawberry and passion fruit mousse.

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