Dear Sir... Readers' Views (30/11/16)

Your letters, your views...

Dear Sir... Readers' Views (30/11/16)

Most Irish would agree with Higgins about Castro

President Michael D Higgins has been unjustifiably criticised by the media and government politicians for what most Irish citizens consider to be his dignified and appropriate remarks on the death of former Cuban leader, Fidel Castro.

Higgins has been accused of failing to highlight the human rights abuses of the Cuban government. There are appropriate times for offering condolences and for defending human rights, and Michael D Higgins has done far more than most other Irish politicians in defending those rights, especially in Latin America. Our Government’s decision not to be represented at Castro’s funeral, at ministerial level, or higher, contrasts with the flying at half-mast of the Irish flag on the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, and with the attendance of Foreign Affairs Minister, Charlie Flanagan, at the funeral of Shimon Peres, former president of Israel. Both countries have committed human rights abuses. No mention has been made in recent media reports of ongoing abuses of prisoners in Cuba, possibly amounting to torture, not by the Cuban government, but by the United States, in Guantanamo.

May Fidel Castro rest in peace.

Edward Horgan




Higgins does not represent my view

I was dismayed to hear our pagan President, Michael D Higgins, lament the death of Fidel Castro, the former dictator of Cuba. Castro seized power in 1959 and replaced another dictator, albeit a fascist, who ruled for a much shorter period.

Castro introduced a one-party communist state, which he ruled for nearly half a century, before handing over the presidency to his brother, Raul, in 2008. So much for the people’s republic and the workers’ paradise.

He sent his soldiers to Angola to fight in a vicious civil war from which that unhappy land has not yet recovered.

Cuban law limits freedom of expression, association, assembly, movement, and the press.

So, hardly a state with a human rights record, and all this before we take note of the thousands executed by Castro. Professor of political science at the University of Hawaii, Rudolph J. Rummel, estimated the number of political executions at between 4,000 and 33,000, from 1958 to 87, with a mid-range of 15,000.

The East German secret police, the Stasi, trained the personnel of the Cuban interior ministry. According to the US, 1,200,000 Cubans (10% of the current population) left the island for the US between 1959 and 1993, often by sea, in small boats and fragile rafts.

Apparently, they did not like the “significant political and social change” Castro brought to his country, and which is admired by Higgins.

A 2009 report by Human Rights Watch concluded that “Raúl Castro has kept Cuba’s repressive machinery firmly in place...since being handed power by his brother, Fidel Castro.”

The report found that “scores of political prisoners, arrested under Fidel, continue to languish in prison, and Raúl has used draconian laws and sham trials to incarcerate scores more who have dared to exercise their fundamental rights.”

Jorge Luis García Pérez was reported to have been released from prison in April, 2007, after serving his full sentence of 17 years and 34 days for shouting slogans against Castro. Garcia Pérez was then 25.

Unlike President Higgins, who is misrepresenting the views of the Irish people, Garcia Pérez was entitled to no personal opinions, and our President does not seem worried about his human rights.

Liam de Paor

Loreto Road

Carrickane, Cavan

US is human rights abuser in Cuba

I commend President Michael D Higgins for his sentiments on the death of Fidel Castro, president of Cuba.

Castro loved his country and its people. When he came to power, he was the ‘new brush ‘ of Cuban politics, clearing out the old-guard, American-supported dictators, who had control of its refineries.

Castro nationalised the refineries for the Cuban people.

Then, he provided free health care for all citizens. He eradicated illiteracy and homelessness... not bad for a leader whom the west wishes to ridicule. The only evidence of abuses of human rights in Cuba is at Guantanamo, where the Americans are the perpetrators.

Castro worked towards the ending of apartheid in South Africa and helped with securing peace in Northern Ireland. He will be fondly remembered as one who saved his country, and its people, from the ravages of imperial domination and exploitation by capitalists. Shame Ireland cannot produce a politician of his calibre.

Seamus Ward



Higgins’s opinions damaging Ireland

In his gushing tribute to the late Cuban leader, Fidel Castro, President Michael D Higgins ignores or plays down atrocities or abuses perpetrated by hard-left regimes. He is writing in his capacity as President of Ireland and, therefore, on behalf of the Irish people.

However, I doubt that more than a small fraction of the Irish people agree with what he said.

Michael D Higgins is entitled to his personal political opinions and ideological convictions.

However, he is not entitled to promote these personal opinions and convictions in official presidential pronouncements.

The Castro incident is only the latest example of his disregard of propriety. It is surely only a matter of time before he commits a gaffe that will seriously embarrass and/or damage Ireland.

William Reville


Co Cork

Political ten commandments

I am the Leader, thy King.

Thou shalt have no other leaders before me.

No graven images or likenesses from other party leaders.

Do not take the Leader’s name in vain.

Remember the Leader’s birth day.

Thou shalt covet thine expenses.

Honour thy Leader and thy party.

Thou shalt bear false witness against your taxpayer.

Thou shalt not steal and get caught.

You shalt tax your neighbor’s house; your neighbor’s wife, his male servant, his female servant, his ox, and his donkey, and anything that is your neighbor’s.

Anthony Woods


Co Clare

Kenny in Vatican to make confession?

Could there be another reason for Enda Kenny to visit the Pope in his office, other than to have his confession heard by an extremely merciful man, who seems to think that God forgives all sins?

Liam Power




Co Mayo

Who is paying for Adams in Cuba?

I sincerely hope that we Irish taxpayers are not funding the trip planned by Deputy Gerry Adams, TD, to Cuba to attend the funeral of Fidel Castro. President Michael D Higgins represents the Irish people. Whom does this man from the Falls road represent?

Michael Leahy

Ballynoe Hse


Co Cork

Expensive Olympic trip for Hickey

The Brazilian authorities have effectively ‘fined’ Pat Hickey and Kevin Mallon €410,000 each, for their alleged part in ticket-touting.

The authorities appear to have accepted that they couldn’t hold the pair in Brazil.

I wouldn’t expect either Hickey or Mallon to return to a ‘hostile’ Brazil. They will lose their money.

A very expensive Olympic trip for two Irishmen.

Damien Carroll


Dublin 24

We have lost our sense in Ireland

I am frustrated with living in this country. The remark by Kevin Duffy, that a garda strike is akin to mutiny, is correct and should not have been withdrawn. A garda strike would be treason, and should be called so.

The President of Ireland represents all the people of Ireland, when making statements. Michael D Higgins commiserated with Cuba on the death of their former leader, Fidel Castro, but Castro took ownership from the hands of a dictator and replaced it with his own dictatorship.

On The Late Late Show, last Friday evening, Paul Williams spoke of the shame of the law-abiding people of Ireland, who have to watch while criminals exploit free legal aid.

What a sad country.

Now, our Government is proposing to make the Travellers an ethnic group. We have lost all our sense.

Una Heaton

North Circular Road


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