Wednesday 25 April 2018

Anger over plans to bring Love Ulster march to Dublin

Willie Frazer
Willie Frazer
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

WELL-known loyalist Willie Frazer is due to meet members of An Garda Síochána next week over his plans to stage a Love Ulster march in Dublin next month.

The plans to hold the event in the capital have sparked anger among politicians.

Fianna Fáil councillor Jim O'Callaghan and Fine Gael senator Catherine Noone have called for the event to be cancelled due to fear of a repeat of the violence during a similar march in 2006.

Mr O'Callaghan, who is Fianna Fáil's legal adviser, tabled a motion at last night's monthly meeting of Dublin City Council in a bid to have the march blocked.

However, his motion did not make it to the council floor as the meeting ran out of time before it could be debated.

"Mr Frazer says it is not his intention to cause trouble on the streets of Dublin with his Love Ulster march, but there is a serious risk that as a result of this march there's likely to be violence on the streets of Dublin, as happened before," Mr O'Callaghan told the Irish Independent.

"If Mr Frazer is interested in preserving the peace rather than personal publicity then he should call off his march and manifest his love for Ulster in other ways," Mr O'Callaghan added.

Speaking to the Irish Independent last night, Mr Frazer said that organisers of the parade want to ensure it passes off peacefully.

"The very last thing we want is trouble. If Dublin politicians have such an opinion about us, why don't they invite us down to hold discussions on the matter," he said, adding that he has agreed to meet gardaí next week.

Mr Frazer, who is based in Markethill, Co Armagh, was involved in organising a similar march in Dublin on February 26, 2006, which was abandoned after hundreds of protesters rioted.

Some 300 protesters - unconnected to the Love Ulster group - clashed with gardaí yards from where 800 marchers commemorating the victims of republican violence gathered.

The Love Ulster parade never got under way as protesters along the route broke the barriers and began attacking gardaí, photographers and journalists.

Missiles, including cement blocks, rocks, pipes, glass bottles and firecrackers, were thrown, and a refuse skip outside the GPO was also set on fire.

Further clashes broke out at O'Connell Bridge, Aston Quay, Fleet Street and Temple Bar.

Fourteen people, including six gardaí, were treated in hospital as a result of the disturbances.

Irish Independent

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