Michael D Higgins

Irish president Michael D Higgins visits pub bomb memorial
Michael D Higgins sees the memorial in Birmingham at the start of a three-day visit to England.

Irish president visits pub bombing memorial

The families of the Birmingham Pub Bombing victims met the Irish president - just two weeks before the fresh inquests into their deaths.

Michael D Higgins with families

In his first visit to Birmingham as Irish President, Michael D Higgins attended a ceremony for a new memorial to the 21 people who died in 1974.

Julie Hambleton and Michael D Higgins

Speaking about the memorial Mr Higgins said: "I wanted to pay tribute and offer the respect of memory and sympathy to all of the innocent victims and their families and I do so as the President of Ireland."

Micheal D higgins

He also praised the city's Irish community who became part of the "very fabric" of the city.

He remarked on the work of Irish men in the 1950s who "built so much in the region", including famous Birmingham landmarks such as the NEC events venue and the Spaghetti Junction road system.

Irish president pays tribute to pub bombing victims

Allen Cook

BBC News

The Irish President has paid tribute to the victims of the Birmingham pub bombings on a visit to the city as part of a three-day visit to England.

The memorial

Speaking at Birmingham Town Hall, Michael D Higgins said he wanted to offer sympathies to all the innocent victims and their families.

He also thanked the organisers of a memorial to the 21 victims of attack on 21 November, 1974, saying "these dark days are now behind us".

The sculpture, which was unveiled outside New Street Station last year, is made up of three steel trees with "leaves" bearing the names of each victim.

Irish president 'saddened' by Brexit

The Irish President has expressed his "sadness" at the decision of the British people to leave the European Union.

Michael D Higgins

Speaking to business leaders, artists and members of the Irish community at Birmingham Town Hall today, Michael D Higgins said: "We have been sharing so much, much more than use of the English language in meetings of the Union.

"However, I wish to reiterate today that however the challenge of Brexit is resolved it will be more important than ever in the years ahead to sustain and build upon the deep friendships which have grown between Britain and Ireland.

"We will still continue to live in the shadow of each other."