It was a case of wedding party meets presidential party when a mother of the bride went to great lengths to make her daughter’s big day perfect.
nn Mahon defied traffic, protocol and tight security to catch the attention of Michael D. Higgins during his state visit to Malta.
In return, she received a personal presidential message for the newlyweds.
Ann and husband Pat from Castlebar, Co Mayo are in Malta for their daughter Emma’s wedding to Eric O’Farrell.
“We heard the President was here and we said, ‘We have to find him, good luck with the wedding,’” Ann said.
“They had to postpone the wedding because of Covid. This is the fourth date they have set so we were petrified if anything else happened.”
President Higgins had just left a meeting with his Maltese counterpart George Vella and laid a wreath at the war memorial in Floriana when a salute in Irish caught his ear from behind the security cordon.
He happily posed for a photo and when he heard the family’s reason for staying in Malta he told them he was very happy for them all.
“I wish Emma and her future husband health and happiness,” he said.
As Ann remarked, “This is going to be a best man’s speech.”
Ann and Pat are among 65 family and friends who traveled to Malta for the wedding.
However, Ireland and Malta have links that go deeper than holiday flights, something President Higgins was keen to emphasize in his official engagements.
As island nations on the periphery of Europe and former colonies fighting for independence, the two countries shared common experiences.
They also shared a policy of neutrality, and President Higgins spoke to Mr Vella about the potential role neutral countries could play in bringing an end to the horrors in Ukraine.
They also discussed the climate crisis and migration, issues that will become intertwined as climate change renders large parts of the world uninhabitable.
President Higgins is expected to return to the issue when he delivers a keynote address to the European Asylum Agency today.