In the letter he sent to parliament about this trip, the head of state says that "this state visit follows the repeated invitation, since he visited Portugal in 2015", by his Irish counterpart, Michael Higgins, and "was scheduled for May 2020, having been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic".

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa adds that "the trip aims to strengthen the relationship with the Irish authorities, in a European context, taking into account the post-Brexit situation and the relationship with the United Kingdom, as well as contacts with the Portuguese community."

Jorge Sampaio was the last Portuguese President to officially visit this European Union country, 23 years ago, between May and June 1999. Sampaio returned to Dublin in 2004, this time not on an official visit, for a conference on HIV/AIDS. Mário Soares was also in Ireland on a state visit, in June 1993.

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa's arrival in the Irish capital is scheduled for 19:00 today (18 October).

The official program of his visit, concentrated in Dublin, between Wednesday and Thursday, includes meetings with the Irish President, Michael D. Higgins, with the Irish Prime Minister, Micheál Martin, and a visit to the Irish Parliament.

In a note published on this State visit, the Presidency of the Republic notes that it takes place "in the year in which the 80th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Portugal and Ireland is celebrated".

According to the portal of the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in 2020 there were 9,542 consular registrations of Portuguese people in Ireland and there are records of 2,630 Irish people residing in Portugal.