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Statement by the Tánaiste on the death of Vaclav Havel

I was very saddened, as I know that so many people will be, by the death of Vaclav Havel.  I believe that Vaclav Havel’s personal bravery and example in opposition to Soviet totalitarianism, especially in his country’s dark days in the 1970s when he played a crucial role in the Charter 77 movement, 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 by all who cherish freedom.