President Michael D Higgins has praised the sacrifices made by Irish people who emigrated to England in the 1950s and 1960s, saying they ensured that those who followed them could have a better life.

The President was speaking on a visit to the Haringey Irish Community and Cultural Centre in north London this morning.

He said it was very encouraging to see how the Irish community had evolved in Britain over recent years.

The manager and captain of the London Gaelic football team were among the guests at the President's event.

London will play Mayo in the Connacht final this weekend.

In a speech this morning, the President said the recent disturbances in Belfast show that the "toxins" of a divisive past have not entirely abated.

He called for leadership from those who believe in peace, saying peace was much more than a signature on a piece of paper.

This evening, President Higgins received an honorary doctorate at the University of Middlesex.