Jan 04, 2024

Czech Minister Apologizes for Christmas Party Amidst Tragic Shooting

Marian Jurečka, the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs of the Czech Republic, issued an apology for the Christmas party held by his ministry on the same day as the tragic shooting at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University, iDNES.cz writes.

Witnesses reported that dancing continued at the ministry until midnight, despite earlier claims by the ministry that the event had been prematurely terminated around 9 p.m.

Jurečka broke his silence and expressed regret for not evaluating the situation more promptly. He acknowledged that the event should have been canceled earlier and apologized if it offended anyone.

The minister commented on the situation, stating, “I admit that I could have evaluated the whole situation more quickly and if I had full information earlier, we would have canceled the event much earlier. I apologize if our Christmas gathering offended anyone.”

Criticism from the parliamentary opposition and the public mounted, with critics questioning the government’s behavior and accusing it of hypocrisy.

The leaders of coalition parties have not commented on the event. Jurečka’s deputy, Zuzana Freitas Lopesová, who did not attend the party, emphasized her focus on the tragic events at the Faculty of Arts and her son, who is a student there.

Shadow Minister of Labor Aleš Juchelka criticized the government’s silence about the party, calling it the “stupidest strategy” and raising questions and suspicions. Miroslav Kalousek, co-founder of TOP 09, expressed his inability to understand people celebrating on the same day as the tragic shooting.

The ministry initially claimed that the Christmas event was terminated prematurely for solemn reasons at 9 p.m.

However, footage and witness accounts contradicted this, showing dancing at midnight. The ministry’s spokesperson had stated that the event was preliminarily terminated when Minister Jurečka left for an extraordinary government meeting after the shooting.

The Christmas event organized by Jurečka’s office last year was revealed to be one of the most expensive among ministries with a cost of 400,000 crowns for catering alone.

The ministry defended the gathering as a good practice to thank employees for their year-round work, but the controversy continues with discrepancies between official statements and the reported events.

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