Dublin - the new Drumcree?

A unionist group has said it is determined to march through Dublin in spite of the violence caused by its attempt to do so last weekend.

Hoever, Dublin’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern has indicated that his government feels that a second march attempt by the ‘Love Ulster’ organisation is not feasible or appropriate.

Parade organiser Willie Frazer claimed the government had a responsibility to allow a repeat of the Love Ulster parade, which was cut short in Dublin last Saturday due to rioting. However at a Belfast press conference he stopped short of saying the parade definitely would happen.

“We would like to go back as soon as possible. But there is a lot of questions that are going to have to be answered by members of the Dail and gardai.

“We want reassurances from them. We don’t want to have people batoned off the streets of Dublin so we can parade down through Dublin.”

Speaking in Belfast, Mr Ahern claimed the parade was related to the concept of “reconciliation”, but expressed obvious doubts at the manner this was being attempted.

“The only way you can do that [achieve reconciliation] is by sitting around a table; not by demonstrating, not by throwing bricks, not by waving flags in such a way that is regarded as confrontational by another side.”

Asked was he implicitly stating that the Love Ulster parade had “caused offence”, he said words should not be put in his mouth.

However he added: “We live in a democracy. People have an entitlement to march, people have an entitlement to do so in a way that does not cause offence. They have an obligation to do it in a way that does not cause offence.”

Republican Sinn Fein, the only political party to oppose the parade, said it would protest any attempted re-run of last weekend’s march.

“We will be mounting another protest if they try to march in Dublin again,” said party leader Ruairi O Bradaigh. “It was political blindness on the State’s part that they couldn’t see that the ordinary working class people in Dublin are disgusted that a march like this could take place down O’Connell Street.”

The party also rejected as “without foundation” a Garda police report that its members were involved in rioting.

Senior gardai prepared the report in response to the controversy over police planning for the event, which ignored expressed concerns over disorder.

RSF yesterday said it had sought to give the anti-republican march and rally a political agenda, pointing out that its opposition to the event was well publicised in advance.

“Republican Sinn Fein carried out its protest picket as planned and departed from the scene in an orderly manner when the march was cancelled,” it said.

The party said its members were never in O’Connell Street, where the rioting was focussed, adding: “We declared this loyalist march to be ill-advised.

“We believe any attempted repetition of it to be even more ill-advised.”

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© 2006 Irish Republican News