Michael D Higgins visits Windsor Park during Belfast trip

The president has learned about efforts to tackle sectarianism in football during a visit to Northern Ireland’s National Stadium.

It was one of four visits which Michael D Higgins is undertaking in Belfast on Friday.

Mr Higgins and his wife Sabina were welcomed to the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park where they heard about the efforts to promote the game for all.

Irish President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina Coyne at pitch side in the National Stadium at Windsor Park, Belfast, meeting players from the Cliftonville and Linfield U9 girls’ teams (Liam McBurney/PA)

They met Irish Football Association staff involved in cross-community and peace-building work as well as the Anti-Sectarianism and Show Racism The Red Card workshops delivered in football clubs and schools.

They also heard about the association’s new strategy for girls’ and women’s football in Northern Ireland before meeting some of the potential stars of the future down on the pitch.

They then watched in action and met some of the players from rival Belfast clubs Cliftonville and Linfield Under-9 girls’ teams.

Irish President Michael D Higgins (centre right) and his wife Sabina Coyne (centre left) pitch-side in the National Stadium at Windsor Park, Belfast, with IFA President David Martin (right) with players from the Cliftonville and Linfield U9 girls’ teams (Liam McBurney/PA)

The head of the Irish FA said the visit had been a great opportunity to highlight the work they are doing.

“It was great to have President Higgins and his wife at the home of football in Northern Ireland,” said Irish FA chief executive Patrick Nelson.

“The president is a huge football fan and his visit was a great opportunity for us to highlight just a few of the many strands of our work.”

- Press Association

More on this topic

Plane fuel checked at Belfast City airport after concerns over delivery

May ‘blocked amnesty’ for Northern Ireland veterans

Four arrested over attempted theft of an ATM in Belfast

Family uninjured after 'reckless attack' as shots fired at Belfast house

More in this Section

Majority of public would support ban on unvaccinated children attending school

Thatcher 'sick' at second arson attack on historic building

'Luckiest county' sees another Lotto jackpot

Explained: Why two Irish MEPs will face wait on subs’ bench after election


Lifestyle

Life on Earth is not as plentiful and may soon be extinct

Aonghus the white-tailed sea eagle has fans intrigued

Recalling genius of the German super man

Islands of Ireland: Under Quarantine in West Cork

More From The Irish Examiner