Guevara festival finds unlikely ally

The organisers of the second annual Che do Beatha festival in Kilkee have found — in Declan Ganley — an unlikely ally in playing down the controversy around the festival’s inspiration, Che Guevara.

Next month, the west Clare resort will stage the 2nd annual Che do Bheatha festival where the South American revolutionary’s daughter, Almeida will be guest of honour to open this year’s festival.

Dr Guevara — who is aware of the recent controversy in Ireland surrounding her father — is to launch her mother, Aleida’s book Remembering Che on the life she shared with Che Guevara.

The current controversy erupted after Libertas founder Mr Ganley described plans for a Galway memorial to Che Guevara as a “monument to a mass murderer”.

Organiser of this year’s festival to run from Sep 28 to 30, Cillian Murphy said yesterday: “I think it would be crass in the extreme to continue with these ‘Che Guevara mass murderer’ conversations with his daughter coming here as our guest of honour next month.”

The chairman of Loop Head Tourism added: “We have just commemorated Michael Collins and no one was roaring and shouting around here about what he might have done in his time. We don’t see any controversy with what we are trying to do with the festival”.

The inaugural Che do Bheatha festival took place last Sep in Kilkee to celebrate Che Guevera spending a night at the Royal Marine Hotel there on Sep 12, 1961.

It was during his visit to Kilkee that Che Guevera met artist Jim Fitzpatrick. It was a number of years later when Mr Fitzpatrick designed the world renowned Che Guevara image.

Asked to comment on the upcoming festival, Mr Ganley said: “What is planned in Kilkee is completely different to a civic memorial to Che Guevara in Galway. “The Clare festival is about private enterprise and freedom of expression. People have the right to be wrong, but I don’t have an issue with the festival.”


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