Dublin parade by New IRA-linked group 'beneath contempt'
A parade in Dublin by a group linked to dissident republican group the New IRA has been described as "beneath contempt".
Up to 150 members of Saoradh paraded along Dublin’s O’Connell Street on Saturday to mark the 1916 Easter Rising, after the group cancelled a similar parade in Derry planned for Easter Monday.
The group issued a statement on Friday stating a “republican volunteer” shot journalist Lyra McKee “accidentally”, but placed the blame for the murder on “British crown forces”.
The statement has been widely condemned by political leaders, but despite announcing its ‘1916 Commemoration Committee’ would not be marching in Derry following the murder, members paraded through Dublin city centre in paramilitary-style outfits.
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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he was appalled by the parade.
"The actions by Saoradh in Dublin this weekend are beneath contempt," he tweeted.
"People north and south are mourning the death of a brave campaigner and journalist, Lyra McKee.
"And on Sunday we marked the heroes of 1916 who put Ireland on the path to democracy.
"Others like Saoradh want to return Ireland to a violent and troubled past. We can never allow this to happen.
"Saoradh should apologise for their actions this weekend."
Mr Varadkar said Saoradh's actions had "dishonored" the legacy and memory of those involved in the Easter Rising.
"It was an insult to the Irish people," he said.
The actions by Saoradh in Dublin this weekend are beneath contempt. People North and South are mourning the death of a brave campaigner and journalist, Lyra McKee. And on Sunday we marked the heroes of 1916 who put Ireland on the path to democracy.— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) April 21, 2019
He added: "The proclamation condemns those who in the name of Ireland would dishonour the flag through cowardice or inhumanity."
"Those involved in dissident activity should reflect on those words," he said.
Unlike Northern Ireland, no permit is required ahead of such parades in public spaces, and a spokesperson for the Garda said “appropriate policing arrangements were put in place” for the parade, despite no prior notice being given.
A spokesman added that the force “would ask those planning any public assembly to contact and liaise with local gardaí in advance”.
No incidents were reported at the parade, but smartphone footage posted online shows one man attempting to question participants about the appropriateness of the display in the wake of Lyra McKee’s murder, before he is confronted by an onlooker and told to stop.
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Republic’s justic minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan said the parade was “very disturbing”.
“I know that all right-thinking members of the public are sickened at the sight of a small number of people in paramilitary uniforms, particularly after the horrific killing of a young journalist, Lyra McKee, in Derry on Thursday night," he said.
“These demonstrators do not represent the views of the Irish people who have been united for many decades in rejecting paramilitarism and are rightly revulsed at this display.”