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Saturday 24 June 2017

Varadkar said he takes a very different view on Castro than the President

Leo Varadkar
Leo Varadkar
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar said he takes a very different view on Castro than the President.

But he insisted President Higgins was entitled to express his views.

Speaking to reporters in Dublin, Mr Varadkar said Castro imprisoned opponents in mental institutions if they disagreed with him.

“There is a long standing tradition of Government ministers not criticising the president because he’s above politics and the President not criticising the Government for exactly the same reason.  So I’m not going to get into that space," Mr Varadkar said.

“What I would say though, when it does come to Castro, the Government and certainly me as an individual would take a more nuanced view on Castro’s legacy.

"He certainly stood up to American aggression and certainly made some changes in his country that were significant particularly around access to education and healthcare.

"But he was an unelected dictator. Nobody in Cuba ever voted for him. He handed over power to his brother, executed and imprisoned his opponents and even put people in mental institutions for disagreeing with him. So it’s a mixed legacy at best.”

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