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All smiles as Jean-Claude Juncker meets Irish president in Dublin

(left to right) Dublin hurling manager Pat Gilroy, former Kilkenny hurler Henry Shefflin, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney during the presidents visit to the home of the Gaelic Athletic Association at Croke Park. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday June 22, 2018. Mr Juncker is visiting Dublin ahead of the European Council on 28-29 June to discuss Brexit and other issues currently on the European agenda. See PA story POLITICS Brexit Juncker. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

By Rebecca Black, Press Association

Jean-Claude Juncker has met President Michael D Higgins on the second day of his visit to Ireland.

The President of the European Commission complimented the "beautiful" home of the Irish president in Phoenix Park in Dublin.

He was greeted at the entrance of Aras an Uachtarain by secretary general Art O'Leary.

"It's beautiful," Mr Juncker told Mr Higgins' aides, gesturing around the state reception room with its views across the park.

Mr Juncker then met Mr Higgins and his wife Sabina.

There was a warm greeting between the two men.

Mr Juncker said: "Mr President, thank you for receiving me", as he strode across the room to greet him, extending his hand which Mr Higgins took.

Mr Juncker then took Mrs Higgins hand and planted a kiss on it, before giving her a kiss on the cheek.

Mr Higgins invited Mr Juncker to sign the visitors book.

The trio posed for photographs for waiting media, as Mr Juncker quipped to Mr Higgins: "Present us to the world."

The pair held a short meeting along with their delegations, including Clara Martinez-Alberola, head of Mr Juncker's cabinet, Gerard Kiely, head of the European Commission Representation in Ireland, legal adviser Michael Shotter and financial adviser Paulina Dejmek-Hack.

Mr Juncker departed Aras an Uachtarain at around 10.10am for his next visit, which was to Croke Park, the home of Gaelic games in Ireland.

Pic by Brian Lawless/PA Wire

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