Wednesday 7 December 2016

'Listen world, don't mess with Kevin Vickers' - Canadians react to ambassador's handling of protester at Dublin 1916 remembrance

Canadian ambassador who took down Islamic terrorist tackles protester at Dublin 1916 remembrance

Tony Gavin, Ciara Treacy and Geraldine Gittens

Published 26/05/2016 | 14:28

A protester is tackled by the Canadian Ambassador to Ireland, Kevin Vickars at the state event marking the deaths of British Soldiers in The Easter Rising at Grangegorman cemetery today. Photo: Tony Gavin
A protester is tackled by the Canadian Ambassador to Ireland, Kevin Vickars at the state event marking the deaths of British Soldiers in The Easter Rising at Grangegorman cemetery today. Photo: Tony Gavin
A protester is tackled by the Canadian Ambassador to Ireland, Kevin Vickars at the state event marking the deaths of British Soldiers in The Easter Rising at Grangegorman cemetery today. Photo: Tony Gavin
Kevin Vickers Ambassador of Canada to Ireland tackles a protestor who attempted to disrupt proceedings during a State ceremony to remember the British soldiers who died during the Easter Rising, 1916 pictured this morning at Grangegorman Military Cemetery.Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
Kevin Vickers Ambassador of Canada to Ireland tackles a protester this morning at Grangegorman Military Cemetery. Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
A protester is led away by gardai at the state event marking the deaths of British Soldiers in The Easter Rising at Grangegorman cemetery today. Photo: Tony Gavin

What does Canada think about Kevin Vickers, ambassador to Ireland, tackling a protester at a ceremony in Ireland?

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The Canadian ambassador, who made global headlines when he took down a terrorist gunman, has been hailed a hero by many at this side of the Atlantic after he tackled a protester at a 1916 ceremony in Dublin yesterday.

Mr Vickers also previously took down a terrorist gunman in his native Canada.

At the beginning of a ceremony marking the deaths of British soldiers in 1916 at Grangegorman Military Cemetery, during the welcome by MC Commandant Stephen MacEoin, a man in his 40s stood up shouting that the event was "an insult", before he was approached by the Canadian Ambassador.

A protester is tackled by the Canadian Ambassador to Ireland, Kevin Vickars at the state event marking the deaths of British Soldiers in The Easter Rising at Grangegorman cemetery today. Photo: Tony Gavin
A protester is tackled by the Canadian Ambassador to Ireland, Kevin Vickars at the state event marking the deaths of British Soldiers in The Easter Rising at Grangegorman cemetery today. Photo: Tony Gavin

The former Sergeant-at-Arms intercepted the protester and physically moved him away.

The moment made the headlines both here in Ireland and in Mr Vickers' native Canada.

And on social media, everyone from Canadian MPs, journalists and former politicians took to Twitter to give their view.

Some applauded Mr Vickers' actions, while others saw his tackle as wholly inappropriate...

 

 

Mr Vickers was hailed a hero after shooting gunman Michael Zehaf-Bibeau who had killed a soldier at the Canadian House of Commons in Ottawa in October 2014. After the incident, he received a standing ovation in parliament.

The former Sergeant-in-Arms was later appointed Canadian Ambassador to Ireland.

A protester is tackled by the Canadian Ambassador to Ireland, Kevin Vickars at the state event marking the deaths of British Soldiers in The Easter Rising at Grangegorman cemetery today. Photo: Tony Gavin
A protester is tackled by the Canadian Ambassador to Ireland, Kevin Vickars at the state event marking the deaths of British Soldiers in The Easter Rising at Grangegorman cemetery today. Photo: Tony Gavin

An eye-witness described how Mr Vickers was the first to react when the event was interrupted.

"It was just before the wreath party was coming in. The colour party were carrying a Union Jack.

"This man just ran forward and started screaming 'It's a disgrace'. He was tackled by somebody and it was only after that I realised it was the Canadian ambassador.

"The whole thing lasted about a minute. The Canadian ambassador grabbed him. there was a struggle and gardaí wrestled him to the ground.

Kevin Vickers Ambassador of Canada to Ireland tackles a protestor who attempted to disrupt proceedings during a State ceremony to remember the British soldiers who died during the Easter Rising, 1916 pictured this morning at Grangegorman Military Cemetery.Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
Kevin Vickers Ambassador of Canada to Ireland tackles a protestor who attempted to disrupt proceedings during a State ceremony to remember the British soldiers who died during the Easter Rising, 1916 pictured this morning at Grangegorman Military Cemetery.Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.

"Without hesitation he [Mr Vickers] jumped out from the middle of dignitaries"

A garda spokesman said: "A man in his 40s has been arrested in relation to a public order incident at a ceremony in Grangegorman just after mid-day.

"He has been arrested under section four of the criminal justice act."

Kevin Vickers Ambassador of Canada to Ireland tackles a protester this morning at Grangegorman Military Cemetery. Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
Kevin Vickers Ambassador of Canada to Ireland tackles a protester this morning at Grangegorman Military Cemetery. Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.

One attendee said the incident did not interrupt the remainder of the ceremony.

Attendees included Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan TD, Minister for Regional Development, Rural Affairs, Arts & the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD, Minister of State for Defence Paul Kehoe TD, and British Ambassador Dominick Chilcott.

Speaking at the event Minister Flanagan said the commemoration was "symbolic of the reconciliation" between Ireland and Britain.

The ceremony included readings of accounts of the Rising, music and prayers.

There was a solemn wreath-laying ceremony followed by a minute of silent reflection and a piper's lament, and the raising of the National Flag to full mast.

A spokeswoman for the Canadian ambassador said: "We are not commenting on this incident."

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