The Chilean government has honoured President Michael D Higgins with an award for his role which helped save thousands of people during the Pinochet regime.

Mr Higgins was the first international observer to arrive in Chile in 1988 to ensure the vote on whether General Augusto Pinochet remained in power was fair.

General Pinochet’s regime left thousands of people in Chile dead or missing.

Thousands more were tortured, while hundreds of thousands of Chileans went into exile.

The President received the honour at a ceremony at Trinity College.

The Chilean Government said the award was “for his brave and generous humanitarian help that contributed to save thousands of lives of the Chilean people and also foreigners persecuted by the dictatorship."