Tánaiste: Havel will be deeply missed

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has paid tribute to Vaclav Havel, who is being laid to rest today.

Tánaiste: Havel will be deeply missed

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has paid tribute to Vaclav Havel, who is being laid to rest today.

The former Czech President, who led the 1989 overthrow of communism, died on Sunday aged 75.

Minister Gilmore praised Mr Havel's personal bravery and said he inspired ordinary people to reclaim their freedom across Central and Eastern Europe.

"As Vaclav Havel is laid to rest today, it is appropriate to pay tribute to the contribution he made during his lifetime to the cause of freedom and democracy," said the Tánaiste.

"I believe that Vaclav Havel’s personal bravery and example in opposition to Soviet totalitarianism inspired ordinary people across central and eastern Europe to reclaim their freedom. His essays, plays and letters, including those composed in prison, provided a lacerating critique of tyranny.

"Having inspired and led the Velvet Revolution, his moral clarity was never blunted by the attainment of high office.

"Moreover, as President of Czechoslovakia, and later the Czech Republic, his intellectual courage was evident in his championing of human rights throughout the world.

He will be deeply missed."

World leaders have attended today's ceremony in the Czech capital Prague.

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