Justine McCarthy is right to take to task former president Mary Robinson for her lunch with Princess Latifa, daughter and prisoner of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, billionaire ruler of Dubai (“Why I feel let down by Mary Robinson”, Comment, last week).
In March 2018, Princess Latifa recorded a heart-rending video detailing her life of subjugation, including her plan to mount an escape. She said that her video would be published only if her escape failed. It did fail, as her father had her recaptured, and so friends released the video, which is still available on YouTube.
In December 2018, Robinson visited Dubai for her infamous lunch with Princess Haya, one of the sheikh’s six wives, and Princess Latifa, who had been a prisoner since her capture.
It seems inconceivable that Robinson, in preparing for her visit, did not view the video or did not have her attention drawn to it. She should have known what she was doing, and that Princess Latifa was a captive.
Carrickmines, Dublin 18
Mary, Mary, quite contrary
I was one of the women who was elated at Robinson’s election as president in 1990 and her subsequent championing of human rights. However, with her brilliant mind and vast life experience, she should have known better than to go to that lunch.
McCarthy has called her out, but did so in a measured and heartfelt way, suggesting how the former Irish president could undo some of the damage. We await her next move. MW Foley, by email
Elephant in the room
For all the plaudits heaped on Robinson, “cop on” seems to be in short supply. Anyone who studies Dubai and takes one look at its leader would know enough to make them run, and keep running.
Marie Flynn, Dublin
While praising Robinson for her election as Ireland’s first female president, for which I worked hard, you omitted the fact that she resigned from the position with six weeks left of her term. I felt very let down at the time.
Robinson later apologised and said she was taken in by Kofi Annan, who had put pressure on her to take up the position as the UN’s high commissioner for human rights. The episode meant I wasn’t surprised by her actions later with Princess Haya. Unfortunately, she seems a gullible person. Vincent Tully, Carlow
Weakness for flattery Once again, Robinson demonstrates a lack of judgment. She has a record of being ineffectual and subject to flattery. Walking out of the presidency for greater things at the UN was an act of stupidity and abandonment. Jumping at this Dubai opportunity without research beforehand confirms these deficiencies. John Ryan
An excellent article: I too feel disappointment at her response to the fate of Princess Latifa; incredulity at the level of her naivety. Sighle Bhreathnach Lynch Dalkey
Chance of redemption
The only way Robinson can redeem herself now is to be seen to actively investigate the current wellbeing of this young woman. Tony Morgan, Dublin 6
Blind eye to human rights
Full marks to McCarthy for shining a light on Richard O’Halloran’s detention in China (Comment, February 14). This is a grave abuse of the human rights of an Irish citizen but our craven government has adopted the three monkeys’ approach. Shame on all concerned. Daniel Smith
Blackrock, Co Dublin