Friday 30 September 2016

Man dressed like a priest storms the stage at the Rose of Tralee

Published 22/08/2016 | 22:08

For the first time in the festival’s 57 years - a protester stormed the stage.

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As Cavan Rose Lisa Reilly spoke to Daithi about her boyfriend, 'Fathers 4 Justice' founder Matt O’Connor scaled the stage.

Daithi O Shea looks on as a Fathers4Justice protester storms the stage during the Rose of Tralee. Photo: Frank Mc Grath
Daithi O Shea looks on as a Fathers4Justice protester storms the stage during the Rose of Tralee. Photo: Frank Mc Grath

Dressed as a priest and waving a banner, O’Connor (49) urged audience to “join him and the broken families of Ireland”.

As Daithi and Reilly stared in disbelief, the sound in The Dome cut off, the VT rolled and four fine Kerry security men rugby tackled O’Connor to the ground.

After a scuffle he was picked up and promptly turfed him out the back door.

There, according to a Rose of Tralee spokesperson, he was met with members of An Garda Siochana - who escorted him away.

O’Connor, who is second generation Irish but currently lives in Clapham, later released a statement through the Fathers 4 Justice organisation.

“The Fathers of Justice believe this is the new Rising,” the statement read. “We ask people to pray for the thousands of children affected by family.

“100,000 Irish children and petitioned from their fathers and denied their human rights.

‘The Rose of Tralee has lots of beauty, but there is nothing beautiful about family law. We want equal rights for fathers in Ireland. It is a human right for children to see their fathers.”

Fathers 4 Justice are known for their outlandish protests, earlier this month they scaled Jeremy Corbyn’s house and last November they climbed the walls of Buckingham Palace dressed as superheroes.

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