The President’s wife, Sabina Higgins, has broken her silence on the controversial letter she wrote, which was criticized for not condemning Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.
In a statement released yesterday, Ms Higgins said the letter was written in a “personal capacity”.
She said she put the letter in her special section on the President’s official website for people to access.
However, she said she soon took it down again when she saw it was presented “not by me but by the General President.ie website”.
“In the 11 years since I came to Áras an Uachtaráin as the wife of the President, I have continued my longstanding interests in a number of important issues,” she said.
“I have had my own section on the President.ie website since 2014.
“This section provides details of activities I have undertaken including speaking and working on the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, health issues, breastfeeding, issues affecting the Traveler community, human rights, support for the arts and a range of other issues ,” She said.
“Last week I was questioned about my letter to the Irish timeswhich I had written as a private person, by a number of people who had missed it and could not access it online.
“So I’ve put it on my own section of the site, as I’ve done for the past few years. After I hung up my letter, I later took it down to find that it was not from me but from the General President.ie website.
“I have condemned in the strongest possible terms the illegal Russian invasion of Ukraine from the start and I can only be dismayed that people would find anything unacceptable in a plea for peace and negotiation if the future of mankind was torn apart by war, global warming and famine is threatened.”
Days of mounting pressure to write and post it on the website follow.
In the letter, Ms Higgins said fighting in Ukraine would continue until the world “convinces President Vladimir Putin of Russia and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine to agree to a ceasefire and negotiations.”
Fianna Fáil Senator Malcolm Byrne, who previously questioned the contents of the letter and its publication on the President’s website, yesterday welcomed Ms Higgins’ statement but said it should have been released earlier.
“If that had been issued last week, when this controversy first arose, it would have made things clearer,” he said.
“Unfortunately, in the meantime, the Kremlin used her letter for propaganda purposes and she could have made it clear earlier that this is not acceptable,” he added.
Mr Byrne said Ms Higgins’ response could have been released on Monday, along with the President’s comments on the controversy.
“It is important that we all seek peace, but that Russian aggression and war crimes continue to be called out,” the Wexford Senator said.
Meanwhile, Independent Senator Gerard Craughwell said he saw “no justification for private individuals having their own section” on the President’s official website.
“We need to clarify the role (if any) of an incumbent president’s spouse or partner.
“We have yet to hear from the President himself,” he added.
In a statement released Monday, a spokesman for the President said Mr Higgins had repeatedly condemned the “illegal, immoral and unjustifiable Russian invasion of Ukraine”.
However, that statement did not mention why the letter was published on the President.ie website.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/im-dismayed-people-found-my-plea-for-peace-unacceptable-says-sabina-41886302.html “I am dismayed that people found my plea for peace unacceptable,” says Sabina