May 22, 2013
Hectic day for Irish president in BA
by Michael Soltys
Irish President Michael D. Higgins yesterday started a busy day with a business breakfast hosted by Enterprise Ireland at a downtown hotel where he inaugurated the new Irish Business Network office here (he is accompanied throughout his Latin American swing by Irish Trade Minister Joe Costello and a numerous business delegation).
Then onto the National Academy of Medicine where he delivered a scholarly and insightful account of the relationship between Ireland and Argentina from the 16th century onwards at an event sponsored by OSDE health care scheme, CARI (Argentine Council for International Relations) and the Irish Embassy. We hope to touch base in more depth with a slightly less busy Irish president over the weekend and a more detailed account of his trilingual talk (delivered in English, Spanish and Gaelic) will accompany publication of that interview.
There was also a medical element to the noon reception organized by the Irish Embassy as Higgins thanked British Hospital authorities for giving the name Reverend Father Anthony Dominic Fahy, spiritual leader of the Irish people in Argentina and a founding member of the hospital in 1844, to the new School of Medicine which will be inaugurated next Monday (October 15). But the main theme of the reception was “The Gathering” — luring the 70-million-strong Irish diaspora abroad to visit next year when Ireland will be presiding the European Union for the 7th time in the first half of the 40th anniversary of its EU entry. Higgins again waxed eloquent and again we plan to combine a fuller account with the interview.
The afternoon found Higgins paying tribute to Admiral William Brown, the Mayo-born founder of the Argentine Navy, in Plaza Irlanda before renewing contact with the Irish community, a prime purpose of his visit and again a focus in his activities scheduled for today such as visits to the Fahy and Hurling Clubs. But also human rights, which will take him to the former ESMA Navy Mechanics School where he will pay tribute to the memory of the late Patrick Rice (an old friend of this newspaper).