Ceann Comhairle marks anniversary of Václav Havel

Source: House of the Oireachtas / www.oireachtas.ie /

Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl, TD marked the anniversary of Václav Havel at a short ceremony in Leinster House today, Wednesday, 7 December 2016 which was attended by the Czech Ambassador, former ambassadors of the Czech Republic, members of the Czech community and Oireachtas Members.

The ceremony took place at the Václav Havel bust which is located on a plinth in the Committee Rooms’ reception area of LH 2000. Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl, TD said:

This year represents what would have been the 80th birthday of Václav Havel, as well as the fifth anniversary of his death, and the 20th anniversary of his State visit to Ireland. A number of events are being held to mark Vaclav Havel’s anniversary and it is fitting that we should take this opportunity to reflect on the Czech statesman and on the close links between Ireland and the Czech Republic.

Václav Havel was a writer, playwright and political dissident. His Civic Forum Party played a key role in what became known as the Velvet Revolution, a non-violent movement, which ousted the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia in 1989. He served as the last President of Czechoslovakia and as the first President of the Czech Republic. As a civil activist and later as a Statesman, he was an inspiration and figurehead for democratic principles, a commitment to humanitarianism and human rights, civil activism, environmentalism and a peaceful stand against totalitarianism.

Czech Ambassador to Ireland, Ms Hana Mottlová, said:

On behalf of the Czech Republic, the Czech Embassy in Dublin and myself, I express, once again, profound appreciation to the Oireachtas for honouring Václav Havel, an outstanding Czech statesman and committed European, by placing his bust in Leinster House. I am also deeply thankful to the current Ceann Comhairle for calling this gathering to pay respect to Havel´s creative life and work dedicated to freedom, democracy, human rights, public service and the arts.

The Havel bust was unveiled in Leinster House last year. It was conceived by Bill Shipsey, founder of Art for Amnesty and also one of the initiators of the international Havel’s Place series of memorial spots.

Mr Shipsey commissioned a bust in the Czech Republic which was funded by the Czech community living in Ireland and by friends and supporters of Havel and Amnesty International in the Czech Republic.

This is the first time the Irish Parliament has accepted a bust of a foreign head of state.

The Vaclav Havel Center