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Che Guevara statue won't deter US visitors, festival chiefs insist

ORGANISERS of a Che Guevara festival yesterday dismissed objections by Libertas founder Declan Ganley to erecting a statue of the revolutionary as "completely misguided".

And they confirmed that Guevara's eldest daughter, Almeida, will be a guest of honour at the festival in Kilkee, Co Clare.

The inaugural Che do Bheatha festival in Kilkee took place last year.

Yesterday, organiser Tom Byrne said Ms Guevara "was aware of the controversy" sparked by the news that Galway City Council is considering plans to build a statue of Guevara on Salthill promenade.

Last month, Mr Ganley described the plan as a "monument to a mass murderer".

But Mr Byrne said that Mr Ganley was "completely misguided" in his view that the statue may deter US investment here.

"The statue of Oliver Cromwell outside the Houses of Parliament in London doesn't put me off going to London, a city that I love," Mr Byrne said.

"The image created by Jim Fitzpatrick has become as famous as the Coca Cola logo and is recognised as one of enduring images of the 20th Century.

"We are proud to say that this image was the product of that fateful meeting (between Guevara and Mr Fitzpatrick) in Kilkee."

Mr Byrne said that Ms Guevara will meet her Irish relations "and talk on the fact that the revolutionary blood that coursed in Guevara's veins was attributed by Che's own father to his Irish ancestry and his admiration of the leaders of 1916".

The festival, which celebrates Che Guevara spending a night at the Royal Marine Hotel in Kilkee on September 12, 1961, will be held from September 28-30.

Irish Independent