Pence meets Irish president during official visit

Mike Pence began the second day of his first official visit to Ireland by meeting the Irish president.

The US vice president was accompanied by his wife Karen, his mother Nancy Pence-Fritsch and his sister Ann Poynter as they were greeted by President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina at their official residence in Dublin.

Mr Pence and his wife Karen leaving Aras an Uachtarain after meeting Michael D Higgins and wife Sabina
Mr Pence and his wife Karen leaving Aras an Uachtarain after meeting Michael D Higgins and wife Sabina (Liam McBurney/PA)

The engagement at Aras an Uachtarain came ahead of Mr Pence’s meeting with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in the city later on Tuesday. The Pence family had travelled to Dublin from Shannon Airport on Air Force Two after spending their first night on their Irish visit in Doonbeg, Co Clare.

Mr Higgins and his wife escorted Mr Pence and his wife Karen to the state dining room of the Aras on Tuesday morning.

The US vice president greeted the press before signing the guest book.

The guestbook signed by Mr Pence
The guest book signed by Mr Pence (Liam McBurney/PA)

He wrote: “In the memory of a great Irishman, Richard Michael Cawley (Mr Pence’s maternal grandfather) and on behalf of the United States of America – we are delighted to be back in Ireland.”

Mr Pence and Mr Higgins were expected to discuss multilateral co-operation to address climate action, Brexit and its impact on Ireland as well as human rights and equality issues.

Other topics were anticipated to include Northern Ireland and modern challenges of migration.

On Monday night, he stayed at US President Donald Trump’s family golf resort at Doonbeg, an area where his family has ancestral links.

Touching down at Shannon Airport earlier on Monday, Mr Pence pledged that his country will play a constructive role over Brexit, ahead of his scheduled meeting with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson later this week.

“I will be in the UK meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson in just a few days but I think the opportunity to better understand Ireland’s perspective and unique needs, particularly with regard to the northern border, will make us even better equipped to hopefully play a constructive role that when Brexit occurs, it will occur in a way that reflects stability and addresses the unique relationship between the UK and the Republic of Ireland,” he said.

Mr Pence’s visit comes just months after Mr Trump and First Lady Melania Trump visited Ireland.

There were both protests against Mr Trump’s visit in Dublin and Shannon, as well as a warm welcome in Doonbeg.

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