Monday 20 January 2020

FF leader refutes TD's attack on minister

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin. Photo: Kyran O'Brien
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin. Photo: Kyran O'Brien

Laura Larkin

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has distanced himself from a TD who criticised a Government minister for attending this year's Orange Order parade in Belfast.

Fingal TD Darragh O'Brien hit out at the attendance of Minister of State Brendan Griffin at the parade describing it as "clueless".

Mr O'Brien pointed to the burning of the Tricolour and LGBT discrimination as some of the elements in the loyalist celebrations which he said cannot be ignored and which he has never heard the order condemn.

"You can't sugar-coat it and pretend it's a harmless parade," Mr O'Brien said.

He added that there are elements of the celebration that are "vicious".

"I don't think that anyone should shy away from that fact," he said.

However, Mr Martin said he disagreed with his deputy's comments, first aired on social media, saying: "Brendan Griffin, like any other individual in the country, is perfectly entitled to attend Orange Order parades."

Despite violence during the celebrations in a number of places, the Belfast parade passed off without incident.

Mr Griffin said his visit was an effort to break down old barriers.

"A small minority engage in that sort of behaviour and it is appallingly wrong," he said.

Mr Griffin added: "It isn't a feature of what happens at the parade and it's not something that the Orange Order condone."

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Also in this section