Friday 21 July 2017

Defence Forces dismiss claims officer acted inappropriately by speaking on mobile phone during 1916 wreath laying

The solider pictured speaking on the phone was carrying out official business
The solider pictured speaking on the phone was carrying out official business
Wayne O'Connor

Wayne O'Connor

THE DEFENCE Forces have dismissed claims that one of their officers acted inappropriately during yesterday’s 1916 commemorations.

A soldier was filmed talking on his mobile phone as President Michael D Higgins was preparing to lay a commemorative wreath outside the GPO.

The Defence Forces' Press Officer seen with Sheila O'Leary, 94, whose father Thomas Byrne fought in GPO with Irish Volunteers.
The Defence Forces' Press Officer seen with Sheila O'Leary, 94, whose father Thomas Byrne fought in GPO with Irish Volunteers.
Aerial shot of the 1916 Centenery Parade from Westmoreland Street onto O'Connell Bridge Picture issued by the Defence Forces Images taken from roof of the Blood Bank on D'Olier Street

The moment was captured by one eagle-eyed RTE viewer who screen grabbed the shot and shared it online.

The image soon garnered much attention; while most people found it mildly amusing, others said the soldier had acted in a disrespectful manner.

The officer was in a media cordon and surrounded by members of the press and photographers at the time the picture was taken.

A spokesperson said he was handling a query from a journalist when the picture was taken. He also dismissed the idea that his actions were out of line. “The officer in the picture is a member of the Defence Forces Press Office and was taking a call from the media at the time as part of his duties,” a spokesperson said.

“He is positioned in the Media position in front of the GPO and was tasked with providing the media with information about our participation in the events.”

Aerial shot of the 1916 Centenery Parade from Westmoreland Street onto O'Connell Bridge
Picture issued by the Defence Forces
Images taken from roof of the Blood Bank on D'Olier Street
Aerial shot of the 1916 Centenery Parade from Westmoreland Street onto O'Connell Bridge Picture issued by the Defence Forces Images taken from roof of the Blood Bank on D'Olier Street

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