Father of Celtic star ordered to remove banner barring queen
Published 17/03/2011 | 05:00
Anthony Stokes's father John (above) outside court.
Left: the banner being removed from outside his pub in Fairview, Dublin yesterday. Below: Anthony Stokes in action for Celtic. COLLINS/damien eagers
THE father of Celtic star Anthony Stokes, who erected a large sign outside his pub barring Queen Elizabeth, has denied it will affect his son's career or safety.
John Stokes (54) reluctantly agreed to take the sign down yesterday after gardai had raised public safety concerns and objected to the pub's application for late licence exemptions.
Mr Stokes said he would listen to offers for the sign -- which cost €500 -- and any money raised would go to a charity where a teenage Celtic fan stabbed last month had volunteered.
"I've reluctantly agreed to take down the sign. You heard in court that I was ordered to take it down or I wouldn't have my special exemptions," Mr Stokes said outside the Four Courts.
"I have a staff of 12 people, all live locally; a really good staff, young people -- I can't put their jobs and livelihoods at risk.
"I'll still continue my protest against the queen's visit -- I'll just have to find another way that's acceptable to the Garda Siochana."
The 60ft-by-20ft banner had been erected outside the Players Lounge in Fairview, Dublin, last weekend.
It has two very large pictures of the queen and says: "She and her family are all officially barred from this pub as long as the British occupy one inch of this island they will never be welcome in Ireland."
At Dublin District Court yesterday, Judge Paul Kelly told Mr Stokes that he had "a perfect right to protest as long as you do this within the law" but there was an obvious planning issue with the banner.
Mr Stokes added he didn't believe the sign would have any repercussions for his son Anthony, a striker with Celtic, who had a stake in the pub.
"Absolutely not, it's got nothing got to do with him; he doesn't even know about it," he said.
Last October, the Irish international striker's home in Glasgow was targeted by a group of men hours after he had played in the Old Firm derby. There is another derby game this Sunday.
Mr Stokes said any money raised from selling the banner would go to the Good Child Foundation, which helps children in Thailand with Down Syndrome. Celtic fan Reamonn Gormley (19) -- stabbed to death in Lanarkshire, Scotland, after watching an Old Firm game on TV last month -- had volunteered with the charity.
Mr Gormley's parents are due in Dublin this Sunday to watch the Scottish League Cup Final between Celtic and Rangers at the Players Lounge.