From left to right: An tUachtarán Michael D. Higgins - his wife Sabina Higgins - and the Russian ambassador to Ireland Yuri Filatov

UPDATE: Sabina Higgins Issues Statement To Express Dismay At Reaction To Letter On War In Ukraine

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On Tuesday evening The President’s wife Sabina Higgins issued a statement to say she strongly condemns the illegal Russian invasion of Ukraine.

President Michael D Higgins’ wife has been criticised for a letter she wrote to the Irish Times last week, where she called for talks to agree a ceasefire and negotiations.

In her statement, Sabina Higgins says she put the letter on her dedicated section of the president.ie website and subsequently took it down.

She expressed dismay that people would find anything unacceptable in a plea for peace and negotiations, when the future of humanity is threatened by war, global warming and famine.

Mrs Higgins statement read: “For the last 11 years since coming to Áras an Uachtaráin as the wife of the President, I have continued my long standing interests on a number of important issues. Since 2014, I have had a dedicated section on the President.ie website. This section contains details of activities I have been undertaking including speeches and work towards the implementation of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, health issues, breastfeeding, issues affecting the Traveller Community, human rights, supporting the arts and a range of other issues.

Last week I had been asked about my letter to the Irish Times, which I had written in a personal capacity, by a number of people who had missed it, and had not been able to access it online. I therefore put it on my dedicated section of the website as I have done for the last number of years. Having put my letter up, I subsequently took it down when I saw it being presented as not being from myself, but from the general President.ie website.

I have from its outset strongly condemned the illegal Russian invasion of Ukraine and I cannot be but dismayed that people would find anything unacceptable in a plea for peace and negotiations when the future of humanity is threatened by war, global warming and famine.”

Earlier we reported that the letter written by the President’s wife has apparently angered members of the government as according to several reports since the weekend.

The Irish Times published the letter from Sabina Higgins, calling for both Russia and Ukraine to engage in peace talks.

Mrs. Higgins wrote last week calling for a negotiated settlement to the war. She said the paper’s editorial pages had not mentioned any move towards a ceasefire.

She wrote in the aforementioned letter that the fighting would proceed until the world “persuades President Vladimir Putin of Russia and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine to agree to a ceasefire and negotiations“.

Russia’s Ambassador to Ireland Yuri Filatov has welcomed her opinion, much to the mortification of the government.

Mr. Filatov responded by telling The Irish Times the call for a negotiated settlement “makes sense”.

Meanwhile the Fianna Fáil senator from Louth Erin McGreehan also urged the President to resign if he does not apologise for the controversial letter from his wife.

Senator McGreehan said President Higgins “disrespected” Ireland and he should “at least” apologise according to comments attributed to her in The Irish Independent.

An Uachtaráin disrespected our nation and the Office of the Presidency when he published his wife’s letter- At least he needs to apologise and if he doesn’t he should most definitely consider his position”.

Former first lady of Ukraine, Kateryna Yushchenko said the letter “fails to recognise the existential situation in which Ukraine finds itself”.

Further condemnation came from Ukrainian MP Kira Rudik who said the remarks were completely ill-founded and thoughtless.

Ms Rudik said “What is written in the letter is ‘let’s make peace’, so we will allow the bully, allow the aggressive country to get away with what they have done.”