Syrian asylum seekers were among those who were present when Pope Francis planted an Irish oak in Áras an Uachtaráin on Saturday.
The tree was planted near the spot where the last papal visitor to Ireland Pope John Paul II planted a tree of its own nearly 40 years ago.
Pope Francis received a ceremonial shovel from gardener Robert Norris for the ceremony of the Hassoun family, asylum seekers from Syria and the staff in the Áras.
The family members of Hassoun included Saif Eddin Hassoun, Sana Edris, Mahmoud Al A & # 39; Araj, Hasba Hassoun, Lana Al A & # 39; Araj (6), Aala Al A & # 39; Araj (4) and Tala Al A & # 39; Araj (1).
After planting the tree, the Pope spent a minute greeting each member of the family before returning to the Áras.
The pope's cortege had arrived in Áras an Uachtaráin shortly before 11:30 am when two helicopters buzzed over the Phoenix Park.
He was greeted by the president Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina for an honor guard consisting of members of the Irish navy. They were chosen to reflect the importance of the marine service in the ongoing Mediterranean operation, aimed at disrupting the activities of people smugglers and helping migrants to prevent the loss of life at sea.
It was the third time that President Higgins met Pope Francis. They met for the first time during the inauguration of the popes in March 2013 and more recently in May 2017, when the president visited the Vatican.
They chatted on the steps of the Áras before entering the building where the pope signed the visitor's book.
His message in the book said: "With gratitude for the warm welcome I have received, I assure you and the inhabitants of Ireland of my prayers that Almighty God can lead and protect all of you.
Then the Pope and the President briefly came together in a private atmosphere before continuing a tradition that royals, Irish presidents and visiting head of state have seen ceremonial trees on the site of Áras.
Tradition began in September 1853, when Queen Victoria planted the first of three trees and continued after the independence of Ireland, with President Douglas Hyde the first Irish president to establish his roots in 1939.
Since then, all Irish presidents have planted ceremonial trees and heads of state have also been invited to do the same.
The tree of Pope Francis was planted in the same vicinity as the oak planted by Pope John Paul II in connection with his papal visit in 1979.
Among the dignitaries present in Áras were the Minister for Children and Youth Katherine Zappone, the Ambassador of Ireland to the Holy See Emma Madigan, the Catholic primate of All Ireland Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Vatican Cardinal Pietro Parolin.
Homelessness and child abuse
In a statement following the Pope's visit, President Higgins said that they continued their earlier discussions on a wide range of issues of mutual interest during their meeting, emphasizing the need for coordinated international action to address the challenges of climate change, inequality, poverty and violence to address conflict and migration.
"The President and His Holiness spoke of their shared conviction that social cohesion, solidarity and human rights should form the core of political and personal responses to the current challenges faced by global communities, and that current and future generations affected by such challenges deserve a committed response to their needs and a basis for their hopes for a sustainable planet with interdependent people.The president said that he shared the concern of His Holiness about the lethargy of the worldwide reaction that His Holiness Pope Francis & # 39; globalization of indifference.
"President Higgins referred to the important contribution to the debate on the importance of linking ecology, economics and ethics described by His Holiness in his pioneering encyclical, Laudato Si," the statement said.
It added that President Higgins also spoke with the Pope about the problems of homelessness, health, education and nutrition. "They both stressed the importance of taking measures to prevent and restore all forms of abuse of privileges or power."
The president also spoke with Pope Francis about "how achieving an equality of rights defined a republic, and how interrogation actions, including those based on gender and sexual orientation, had caused great suffering and still caused.
President Higgins raised with his Holiness the immense suffering and pain caused by child abuse by some in the Catholic Church. He spoke of the anger that had been conveyed to him in what was seen as the impunity of those who had the responsibility to bring such abuses for action by the competent authorities and did not do so.
"The president welcomed the honest and open-hearted language used by His Holiness when he addressed the issue in his recent Letter to the People of God, bringing to Pope Francis the widespread belief that everyone would benefit from a series of actions that all citizens in to give the past, the present and the future the necessary guarantees, of all religions and none. "