President Michael D Higgins has called for Britain and Ireland to build on their links as he hailed the "extraordinary connection" Liverpool has with this country.

Mr Higgins and wife Sabina visited the Liverpool Irish Centre on the final day of their visit to the UK.

More than 200 people turned out to see President Higgins as he made a speech and posed for photos.

He said: "Irrespective of whatever happens in proximate political events it's so important that we build on those important links of interaction we have."

He praised the commitment of people at the centre in their care for the community.

President Higgins spoke about the contribution Irish people had made to the infrastructure of Merseyside, including the building of the Manchester Ship Canal, roads and houses, after hundreds of thousands emigrated to Liverpool in the 1800s.

He said Ireland could claim three of the Beatles, adding: "I think Ringo is the only one who gets away."

"There is no area of life into which we will not find this," he said.

"This is what is happening in the best of worlds when people share life together."

He said the relationship between England and Ireland had reached a "point of maturity" and commented on the countries' "shared history".

He said: "We have moved to a new place in which we are able to walk in the shoes of each other and be able to concentrate on the present and future.

"Liverpool, this most Irish of cities, has such an extraordinary connection with Ireland."

President Higgins said he was "glad to be back" at the centre, which he first visited in 2012 shortly after he had been elected for his first term.