IT WAS hardly what anyone expected President of Ireland Michael D Higgins to be discussing when he addressed his audience this morning in Kilkenny Castle, but the return to full health of Cats manager Brian Cody was one of the first things he mentioned.
“I am very glad to hear that Brian Cody is back in good order,” said the president, a proud Galwegian.
“If he wanted to take a little break around the beginning of September, not to push things...” he joked.
President Higgins, with his wife Sabina, were in Kilkenny this morning for a civic reception hosted by Mayor Sean O’ hArgain and members of the borough council. He signed the visitors’ book and spoke to a gathering of local dignitaries and business people in the Long Gallery.
He was greeted with a superb rendition of ‘Mo Ghile Mear’, sung by the children of the Gaelscoil Osrai, assisted by Steve Cooney and Iarla Ó Lionáird. A fellow Labour Party member, Mayor O’ hArgain told the audience that it was a privilege to have the president and his wife as visitors in the city.
“Most of you will know that today is particularly meaningful for me as Mayor and in a personal capacity,” he said.
“For most of my adult life I have been proud to call both you a Uachtaráin and Ms Higgins friends. I wish you and Ms Higgins well on the rest of your trip to Kilkenny today, in the remainder of your term of office and hope that you will be back in our midst in the not too distant future.
Later in the afternoon, President Higgins travelled to Thomastown, where he unveiled the Per Cent for Art sculpture entitled ‘Journeys’ in St Mary’s National School, and officially opened the new Activities Room at St Columba’s Hospital.