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Statement by the Tánaiste on Vaclav Havel

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. 

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.