Independent TD Mattie McGrath has heavily criticised the remarks of President Michael D Higgins following the death of Cuban President Fidel Castro. Deputy McGrath was speaking as controversy continues to grow around President Higgins’ failure to explicitly condemn the thousands of state sanctioned murders carried out under the Castro regime as well the documented repression of all political opposition to the former dictator’s rule:
“I firmly believe in this instance that President Higgins ought to have limited himself to expressions of personal regret following the death of Fidel Castro.
To offer his sympathies on behalf of all Irish people, many of whom are deeply aware of the vicious nature of the Castro regime, was an act of extraordinary hubris and political arrogance.
With Castro, we are not talking about a former head of State with whom we had routine political disagreement; we are talking about the elevation of a mass murderer to heroic status with only a slight and oblique reference to this by President Higgins. That is completely unacceptable.
It is actually quite disturbing to know that we have a President who has completely bought into the carefully crafted ‘friend of the poor’ myth that the Castro propaganda machine endless pedalled.
Whatever moral authority Michael D Higgins had is now in tatters. He has openly expressed admiration for a man who overthrew one dictatorship only to establish himself as an equally vile tyrant.
The very least that President Higgins can do is to retract his official remarks and then reissue whatever personal sympathies he so wishes,” concluded Deputy McGrath.
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