Wednesday 19 June 2019

Bob Geldof claims Sinn Fein needs to 'grow up' over Freedom of City comments

Bob Geldof
Bob Geldof Newsdesk Newsdesk

Bob Geldof has urged Sinn Fein to "grow up" after claiming members made insulting comments about his decision to return the Freedom of the City of Dublin.

The singer and campaigner publicly handed the honour back last month in protest at the behaviour of Burma's leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who also held the award.

Since her freedom from incarceration and election as de facto leader two years ago she has faced international criticism over lack of action to prevent alleged ethnic cleansing of her country's Rohingya Muslims by security forces.

Dublin City Council this month voted to strip her of her freedom of the city which it decided to grant in 2000 but has declined to return Geldof's, despite him making clear he would now be happy to see it returned.

He said: "Sinn Fein have a bee in their bonnets about me, the insults, the personal insults, are water off a duck's back but lads, let's get a grip, grow up."

The human rights and anti-hunger activist said he had been honoured by many cities including London and further afield.

"They (Dublin City Council) did as I asked so it is over. I would like it back but if not so be it."

He said the decision to remove the award from Ms Suu Kyi had restored the honour of all the citizens of the Irish capital and restored the meaning of being given the freedom of the city.

Sinn Fein has said Geldof returned his recognition by the people of Dublin but was keeping his British honours.

Lord Mayor of Dublin councillor Micheal Mac Donncha claimed it was "ironic" that the singer was keeping his honorary knighthood despite the UK's "shameful record" of imperialism.

For years Ms Suu Kyi was a human rights symbol and lauded for her bravery.

She picked up the Dublin award in 2012 after her release but has since fallen from grace in the eyes of some in the international community.

Analysts have said she has little or no control over her country's powerful military, which is pursing a brutal campaign against the Rohingya.

Geldof performed with the Boomtown Rats, organised Live Aid to raise money to combat the Ethiopian famine in 1985 and is a committed campaigner against genocide.

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