President Michael D Higgins' wife Sabina has condemned Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine following recent criticism she has received over a letter she wrote which appeared on the President's official website.
Mrs Higgins was widely criticised over the weekend for writing a letter in response to an editorial published in The Irish Times on the war in Ukraine.
In her letter, Mrs Higgins called for a ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine, which critics claimed drew an equivalence between the actions of both countries.
In a statement released on Tuesday evening, Mrs Higgins said she was "dismayed" at the criticism.
"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."
As reported by The Irish Times, explaining how her letter appeared on the President's website, before subsequently being taken down, Mrs Higgins' said: "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 implementations 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," Mrs Higgins added.
"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."
The newspaper adds that a note from the President's office stated: "The letter in question was published on Sabina Higgins' section of the President.ie website only and was not visible on any other part of the website.
"To view the article, a visitor had to click on the ‘Sabina Higgins’ link from the main page. At no time did the letter appear on any other part of the website."