New Irish President set to make first official engagement in Derry

The first official engagement north of the border for new Irish President Michael D Higgins is due to take place in Derry this weekend.

He’s been invited to present the winning trophy at RTE’s School Choir of the Year contest.

The event will be held in the Millennium Forum on Sunday - a major coup for Derry in advance of the City of Culture year in 2013.

The president is due to journey to Northern Ireland only two days after his inauguration ceremony in Dublin.

His scheduled visit comes just a month after his last trip to the city when he made an unscheduled stop during his Presidential campaign in the north west.

The Labour Party candidate, a long time friend of SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan, came to Derry in the wake of the bomb attack on the City of Culture office.

He used the visit to condemn dissident republican violence and pledge his support for the team organising the year of celebrations in 2013.

It will be a busy first Sunday in the job for the 70-year-old father of four.

Earlier in the day, he is expected to attend a Remembrance Day service in Dublin.