Northern Ireland news

Case against Dungannon man arrested after Palestinian flag incident struck out by Co Meath court

Paddy Reilly and John Hurson pictured outside Trim courthouse in Co Meath
Connla Young

A COURT in Co Meath has struck out a case against a Tyrone man charged after a Palestinian flag was flown at a GAA match last year.

Dungannon man Paddy Reilly had been accused of engaging in threatening, abuse or insulting words or behaviour with intent to provoke a breach of the peace.

The 41-year-old was arrested after being told by gardai to stop flying a Palestinian flag before an all-Ireland qualifier match between Meath and Tyrone in Navan last June.

A video of the Tyrone man, who needs a hip replacement and uses crutches, being taken from the terraces was later posted online.

At the time Mr Reilly was also recovering from a condition known as encephalitis - which involves the swelling of the brain.

Mr Reilly was taken to Navan Garda station and later released.

However, he later received a letter telling him he was being charged and given a date to appear in court.

Palestinian campaigner John Hurson

He believed he had received an adult caution before leaving the Garda station.

He claims that during a hearing at Trim District Court on Tuesday a judge struck the case out.

Mr Reilly, whose father is currently ill, last night said he was pleased with the result.

"It was the last thing I needed," he said.

"I'm pleased this is struck out and I can move on with my own life and look after my da.

"It's a victory for showing solidarity for the oppressed Palestinian people in their difficult times at our national sport - the real beautiful game that is the GAA."

That incident took place weeks after an Ulster Council official ordered the removal of two Palestinian flags during an Ulster championship match featuring Tyrone and Monaghan in Omagh.

Well known Palestine campaigner John Hurson, who managed the official Tyrone social media feeds during games involving the county, was later removed from the role after he intervened in Omagh.

A spokesman for the Irish Court Service confirmed the case had been struck out.

A spokesman for An Garda Síochána it does "not comment on matters before the court".

At the time a garda spokesman said officers attending the Tyrone match "received a number of complaints from attendees that their view was obscured by a flag".

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