Former President Mary Robinson ignored questions about her controversial visit to Dubai to meet with Princess Latifa.
The princess – the daughter of the prime minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum – reportedly tried to flee the UAE last year, though her attempted bid to get away was thwarted in controversial circumstances after it was alleged security forces from the UAE snatched her from a yacht off the coast of India in March.
Ms Robinson visited Princess Latifa last month, at the request of her stepmother Princess Haya, and photographs documenting the visit were issued by the government in Dubai.
Since then, Ms Robinson has been interviewed on the BBC and made comments describing Princess Latifa as a “troubled young woman”. She has been subjected to much criticism since.
The former President of Ireland chose not to make any comment as she attended the ‘Global Ireland 2025 Conference: Making it Happen’ at Dublin Castle yesterday afternoon.
Despite posing for photographs upon her arrival at the Castle, Ms Robinson did not acknowledge a question asking for comment on her trip to Dubai as she made her way into the conference hall.
The Mayo woman – who previously served as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights between 1997 and 2002 – was speaking as part of a panel at the event.
However, media were not invited to cover the event.
A number of photographs showing Ms Robinson addressing delegates at the conference were posted on social media platforms yesterday.
It’s understood that Ms Robinson spoke of a number of challenges currently facing humanity.
Among the topics discussed at the event were climate change and stalled nuclear disarmament.
A spokesperson for the former President said that the decision to keep the media out of the event was a matter for the Department of Foreign Affairs and it had nothing to do with her recent trip to the UAE.
The department said that “as in years past, the conference is not open to the public as it is a working conference which allows our heads of mission the opportunity to gather and discuss Ireland’s place in the world”.
On Saturday, Princess Haya – one of the ruler of Dubai’s six wives – told RTÉ’s ‘Marian Finucane Show’ that she had invited Ms Robinson to “seek counsel as a family friend”.