Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Irish president makes Ulster trip

President Michael D Higgins is welcomed to Londonderry by Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson (left) and Don Keegan, High Sheriff of Londonderry
President Michael D Higgins is welcomed to Londonderry by Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson (left) and Don Keegan, High Sheriff of Londonderry

Music was in the air as new President Michael D Higgins made his first official visit to Northern Ireland.

The newly inaugurated head of state was in Derry for the finals of the All-Island School Choir of the Year awards.

The prestigious event in the city's Millennium Forum was won by Wesley College from Dublin.

"I am delighted to join you here tonight and to have had the privilege of enjoying such beautiful choral performances," said Mr Higgins. "Hans Christian Anderson said that where words fail, music speaks."

The President thanked all the 46 choirs who entered the annual contest run by charity Co-operation Ireland and Irish state broadcaster RTE.

"It has been inspiring to witness the final performances but every participating choir in this competition has shown the wonderful talent and teamwork that enabled each and every one of them to represent their school to the very, very best of their ability," he said.

"Surely a people that can sing together in harmony is a wonderful and great omen for the future."

Wesley College won out against other finalists De La Salle College, Waterford; Victoria College, Belfast; and Saint Joseph's, Navan.

The President journeyed north of the border only two days after his inauguration ceremony in Dublin.

Other dignitaries at the event in Londonderry included Northern Ireland Secretary of State Owen Paterson, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams, SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell and Mr Durkan.

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