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Irish President bats off Castro tribute criticism

Ireland’s President has rejected claims that he ignored human rights concerns in a statement marking the death of Fidel Castro.

Criticism of the comments — in which Michael D Higgins described the former Cuban president as a “giant among global leaders” — has been unwarranted, his spokesman said.

A statement issued on Sunday said: “Any suggestion that the President neglected human rights concerns is both unsustainable and unwarranted. The President has discussed human rights concerns with representatives of the government of Cuba on every occasion he has had meetings, in Cuba, Ireland and elsewhere.”

On Saturday, Mr Higgins said Fidel Castro would be remembered as a giant among global leaders, whose “view was not only one of freedom for his people but for all of the oppressed and excluded peoples on the planet”.

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein said its leader, Gerry Adams, intends to fly to Cuba for the funeral.

Belfast Telegraph