Gráinne Ní Aodha, PA
The president of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, has begun a two-day visit to Dublin to mark 50 years of Ireland in the European Union.
The Maltese MEP was greeted by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar as she arrived at Government Buildings, and is to address a joint sitting of the Houses of the Oireachtas on Thursday afternoon.
She is also due to meet President Michael D Higgins during her stay.
The visit comes amid reports of a possible deal between the EU and UK over the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Businesses have been reporting some problems with how the protocol is operating; as a result, the DUP has boycotted the power-sharing institutions in the North until they are resolved or the rules are removed entirely.
A deal on customs data sharing struck in recent weeks has hinted at a possible breakthrough between the two sides, as efforts intensify to restore Stormont ahead of the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement in April.
The Department of Foreign Affairs is leading a programme of events this year to mark when the State joined the EU’s precursor in 1973.
In December, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen addressed a joint sitting of the Oireachtas in Dublin to mark Ireland’s 50 years in the EU.