Pope Francis and President Higgins talk peace process in the North

Pope Francis and President Higgins talk peace process in the North President Higgins presenting Pope Francis with a Bata Iascaire, or 'Fisherman's Stick'. Photo: President of Ireland Twitter.

Strengthening the peace process in the North was among the topics discussed when Pope Francis received President Michael D. Higgins today (Friday) at the Vatican.

President Higgins met the Pontiff before meeting Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who was accompanied by Vatican Foreign Minister Archbishop Paul Gallagher.

A Vatican statement said that during “cordial talks” a variety of topics were discussed, such as migration and the protection of the environment.

Particular attention was paid to upcoming 26th United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP26), to take place in Glasgow, which Pope Francis is expected to attend.

Both leaders discussed the consequences of the pandemic and the future of Europe, before “focusing finally on the theme of the strengthening of the peace process in the country”.

During their fourth meeting, Pope Francis thanked God “that Ireland has such a wise man as its Head [of State]”.

“Today, I did not just meet a man, a president, I met a wise man of today,” the Pope said.

President Higgins was accompanied to the Vatican by his wife, Sabina, and by Ireland’s Ambassador to the Holy See, Derek Hannon.

President Higgins presented the Pope with a Bata Iascaire or a ‘Fisherman’s stick’ made on Inis Mór.

Leaving, the Pope requested that President Higgins pray for him, to which President Higgins responded “Every day”.