Sunday 22 April 2018

'I don't want to be associated with this pig' - Bob Geldof speaks passionately about handing back Freedom of The City of Dublin

He makes the comments on tonight's Late Late Show on RTE One

Bob Geldof will appear on tonight's Late Late Show, RTE One.
Bob Geldof will appear on tonight's Late Late Show, RTE One.
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Bob Geldof speaks passionately about why he handed back the Freedom of Dublin City on tonight's Late Late Show.

The Boomtown Rats frontman and charity campaigner handed the honour back in protest at the fact that Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi was also a recipient of the award.

The move caused controversy but Dublin City Council subsequently stripped Suu Kyi of her honour while councillors voted in favour of officially rescinding the honour granted to Geldof in 2005 for his humanitarian work.

Geldof refers to Suu Kyi as an "accomplice to rape" and "handmaiden to ethnic cleansing" and speaks about the shocking acts of violence carried out in her name.

“Burning people alive, raping women as they held their babies and in front of the women when they finished raping them, they burned the babies alive. That's a fact and it is on film. I don't want to be associated with this pig once,” he says.

Regarding the move to hand back the Freedom of the City, Geldof tells host Ryan Tubridy that he did not make the decision lightly and did not want to hand back the honour.

“Honestly, I didn't want to, it's a lovely thing... It's on my wall, not many things that I have are on my wall. It was on my wall. I took it off and undid the frame and rolled it up and thought ‘Jaysus we'll do it anyway’. I gave it back to the person who gave it to me, who was the Lord Mayor at that time,” he says.

“I just said it is a gesture, I know it is embarrassing and it is small but I don't want to be part of this. Everyone resorts to the Nazis but if Hitler was on our roll of honour he'd have been long gone, there is no question of it.”

He says he felt proud to receive the honour, which is rarely given.

“Tubridy, if you showed up in London they'd give it to you... but in Dublin it is quite precious and I am a Dubliner. My Dad was there, and the kids were there and it was a great day and Ronnie Delaney was getting it on the same day. What is not to like, what's not to be proud of?

"Then I saw Aung San Suu Kyi was on it because she got it on the day that I spoke welcome to her. And I thought ‘that's a disgrace, there shouldn't be, in effect, an accomplice to murder, at least, on this thing. That's a disgrace to that roll of honour, it dishonours it’. And as that roll of honour is on behalf of Dubliners and Dublin, I didn't want to make it a big thing, but I thought she should be taken off, no big deal,” he says, to applause from the studio audience.  

He made the protest to draw attention to the issue so that something would be done about it.

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“Fair play, they shouted at me - grandstanding and that and I know it is, and I don't mean it to be, I really don't but I don't know what I can do personally to register my disgust. Not at Dublin, not at the roll of honour, I understood what a great honour it is but I just don't want to be associated with those people in any way and so they did, they took her name off,” he says.

Geldof remains without the honour but says he would like to have it back, although it is not in his hands.

Tonight's episode of The Late Late Show on RTE One at 9.35pm will also see Maeve Higgins, Bryan Dobson, Home of the Year judges Hugh Wallace, Deirdre Whelan and Patrick Bradley and Finbar Furey in studio.

Read more: Bob Geldof 'absolutely disgusted' Dublin City Council revoked his 'Freedom' award

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