PRESIDENT Michael D. Higgins' beloved pet dog Bród has sadly passed away.
The 11-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog was often pictured alongside the president at Áras an Uachtaráin when he welcomed visiting dignitaries.
A statement from the Áras said Bród was 'a very much loved dog' and 'one of the most photographed dogs in Ireland'.
President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina are sad to confirm that Bród, one of their two Bernese Mountain Dogs, has passed away at just past the age of 11. Bród was 11 years and two months at Áras an Uachtaráin, having come to the Áras as a 8 week old puppy. pic.twitter.com/rKK930FEY5
— President of Ireland (@PresidentIRL) April 23, 2023
"President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina are sad to confirm that Bród, one of their two Bernese Mountain Dogs, has passed away at just past the age of 11," read the statement from the Áras.
Bród and another Bernese Mountain Dog, Síoda, were familiar figures at Áras an Uachtaráin until the latter's death in 2020.
Since March 2021, Bród has been kept company by Misneach.
Bród is the Irish word for 'pride', while Misneach means 'courage' and Síoda means 'silk'.
Royal visitors including the Prince and Princess Wales, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the Earl and Countess of Wessex have all been taken by the dogs during visits to Ireland.
In 2021, Bród met German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, with President Higgins joking with the latter that the dog was 'an experienced diplomat'.
However, Misneach appeared less impressed by US President Joe Biden during his recent trip to Ireland, barking at the distinguished guest and ignoring his calls.
"Bród was 11 years and two months at Áras an Uachtaráin, having come to the Áras as an eight-week-old puppy," added the statement from the Áras.
"Bród was a very much loved dog by all that met him and he enjoyed meeting with the thousands of members of the public who came to Áras an Uachtaráin over the years and he was probably one of the most photographed dogs in Ireland.
"He will be missed by the President, Sabina and all at the Áras, particularly Misneach, the President's remaining two-and-a-half-year-old dog, who has shared his space with Bród over recent months and was his constant companion, aware of Bród's situation and very attentive to him."
On Twitter, An Garda Síochána said that during his time at Áras an Uachtaráin, bród 'brought joy to many including our own mounts that reside there too, and will all miss him around the grounds'.
Meanwhile, Irish dog rescue charity MADRA posted: "Condolences to President and Mrs Higgins on the passing of Bród.
"The passing of a loved one is never easy and we know Bród was a very loved family member.
"You served your country well Bród and will be missed!"