Footballer Seamus Coleman and Joe McHugh TD represented Donegal at one of the most historic occasions in recent memory, as President Michael D. Higgins visited London.
It’s the first time an Irish head of state has visited Britain. Joe McHugh was at Westminster and Seamus Coleman attended the State Banquet at Windsor Castle.
The President’s visit, like Queen Elizabeth’s to Ireland in 2011, has been marked by the warmth of the welcome.
Joe McHugh told the Democrat: “When the President arrived at Parliament, the prolonged hand-clapping was very powerful. His words at the banquet on reconciliation - ‘the reconciliation of Protestant Ulster with Ireland and the reconciliation of Ireland with Great Britain’ - were also of tremendous import.
He continued: “To be in the same room after that speech with members of the DUP and Sinn Féin shows how far we have come in a short time and is very significant.”
In his speech, President Higgins said: “We owe a duty to all those who lost their lives, the duty to build together in peace”.
Queen Elizabeth hinted that she might attend the centenary of the Easter Rising when promised that she would “stand alongside” the President throughout the anniversaries of WWI and “the events that led to the creation of the Irish Free State”.