President joins Pope Francis in call for 'outcomes and action'

Handout photo issued by Maxwell Photography of Pope Francis and Irish President Michael D Higgins meeting in the Vatican City
Handout photo issued by Maxwell Photography of Pope Francis and Irish President Michael D Higgins meeting in the Vatican City

President Michael D Higgins and Pope Francis have urged world leaders to recognise the need for new and effective responses to global challenges.

The two heads of state met in the Vatican where they discussed migration, climate change, sustainable development, the failure to prevent ever increasing threats of conflict and poverty.

Handout photo issued by Maxwell Photography of Sabina Higgins, Irish President Michael D Higgins and Pope Francis in the Vatican City

Handout photo issued by Maxwell Photography of Sabina Higgins, Irish President Michael D Higgins and Pope Francis in the Vatican City

They also talked about the need to achieve social cohesion, values of solidarity and global responsibility in Brexit negotiations, the President's office said.

A spokesman said the issues were of mutual concern to both Mr Higgins and the pontiff.

Prime Minister Theresa May is to join President Donald Trump and newly-elected French president Emmanuel Macron and the leaders of Canada, Germany, Italy and Japan at the G7 summit in Taormina, Sicily this week.

The pope and Mr Higgins urged them to recognise the sense of urgency on global issues.

Handout photo issued by Maxwell Photography of His Grace Archbishop Georg Ganswein greeting Irish President Michael D Higgins to the Vatican City

Handout photo issued by Maxwell Photography of His Grace Archbishop Georg Ganswein greeting Irish President Michael D Higgins to the Vatican City

They called on them to see the need "to craft new and effective responses to global challenges".

"In particular, they agreed on the need to turn commitments on which the public had placed their trust into outcomes and action," a statement from the President's office said.

Since being elected in 2011 Mr Higgins has quoted the pope on a number of occasions and also referred to the "the globalisation of indifference", a phrase used by the pontiff about the handling of the migrant and refugee crisis in the Mediterranean.

Mr Higgins' spokesman said the two men also discussed their shared conviction that new connections between ethics, economy and ecology must be at the core of all work of social and intellectual reconstruction in this new century.

He said they also agreed there can be no resolution to global issues world without an engaged alternative to "the globalisation of indifference".