Justice for the Craigavon Two protester tells how Canadian parliament hero tackled him at 1916 ceremony

Brian Murphy is confronted by Canadian ambassador Kevin Vickers at Grangegorman cemetery
Connla Young

A REPUBLICAN protester has described how he was tackled by the diplomat who shot dead a Canadian parliament gunman during a ceremony remembering British soldiers killed in the Easter Rising.

Dubliner Brian Murphy was wrestled by Canadian ambassador Kevin Vickers on Thursday as he disrupted the commemoration at Grangegorman Military Cemetery in the city.

The event was also attended by British ambassador Dominick Chilcott and Irish foreign affairs minister Charlie Flanagan as well as members of the British and Irish armed forces.

Mr Vickers made worldwide headlines when he killed Michael Zehaf-Bibeau during a shoot-out in the Canadian parliament, where he was sergeant at arms, in 2014.

The dead man had earlier stormed the building with a rifle.

Mr Vickers, who has family connections with Ireland, was later appointed as Canadian ambassador to Ireland.

Mr Murphy, who is a member of the Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association, said he rose to his feet during the commemoration and described it as an "insult", making reference to the case of the 'Craigavon Two'.

Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton are both serving lengthy sentences after being convicted of the Continuity IRA sniper attack that claimed the life of PSNI man Stephen Carroll in Craigavon in March 2009.

Both men have denied any part in the attack.

Mr Murphy's grandfather Charles Murphy took part in the Easter Rising and served as a Sinn Féin TD in the second Dail before becoming party president in the 1930s.

His great-grandfather, a British soldier who served during the Boer War, is buried in Grangegorman graveyard.

Speaking to the Irish News, the 46-year-old community worker said he staged the one-man protest to highlight the Justice for the Craigavon Two campaign and concerns over the Irish government's handling of Easter Rising commemorations.

He described Thursday's event and the recent inclusion of British soldiers' names on a 1916 memorial in Glasnevin cemetery in Dublin as "reprehensible".

Mr Murphy said he was invited to the event after submitting an application to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

He said that while he expected to be challenged by officials, the reaction of Mr Vickers came out of the blue.

"I took my seat and then I stood up and started to say a few words and yer man came thundering at me," he said.

The Crumlin man said "it is important people are aware and at least read the facts" about the Craigavon case.

"It is thanks to the Canadian ambassador I got coverage."

The Justice for the Craigavon Two campaign described his actions as "an act of solidarity".

Mr Murphy said he was charged with a public order offence before being released from custody.

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