President of Ireland Michael D Higgins will address the Scottish Parliament next week – just days after the country overwhelmingly voted to remain in the EU only to find it faces being taken out of it because of English and Welsh voters.
President Higgins accepted the invitation many months ago after he was also invited to receive an honorary doctorate at Edinburgh University.
His speech to Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) comes as the country’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, of the SNP, must weigh up the country’s future in the UK.
She and her party were returned to the Scottish Parliament with a resounding mandate last month after a campaign in which she said that should the UK vote to leave the EU Scotland would have to reconsider its own 2014 independence referendum in which voters decided 2:1 not to break away.
The President will be accompanied by his wife, Sabina Higgins and Ireland’s Diaspora Minister Joe McHugh T.D, representing the Government.
On Monday morning the President will attend an Irish community event in Glasgow, which will be followed by a meeting in the afternoon with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
In the evening, the President will attend a cultural performance ‘Ceangal’.
On Tuesday the President will be conferred with an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws at the University of Edinburgh. In the evening, Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea will host a dinner in honour of the President.
On Wednesday the President will address Members of the Scottish Parliament in the Parliament Chamber at Holyrood.
In the evening, he will attend and speak at a symposium on Irish history, hosted by the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh.
On Thursday the President and Sabina Higgins will travel to France to attend a Commemorative event to mark the Centenary of the Battle of the Somme.