Dublin ‘Love Ulster’ rally called off
Dublin ‘Love Ulster’ rally called off

Organisers of last year’s attempted ‘Love Ulster’ rally have withdrawn their request to hold another rally in Dublin after a meeting with the 26-County government.

The attempt to hold a sectarian loyalist parade in Dublin ended was abandoned amid heavy rioting which Gardai police in the capital failed to anticipate.

There were discussions with Gardai over the possibility of a second rally, but this has now been ruled that out in what was hailed by republicans as a victory for common sense.

In February last year eight busloads of Love Ulster members and supporters, including six loyalist bands, travelled to Dublin bearing Union Jack and Ulster flags.

They gathered on Parnell Square in the inner-city to begin their rally, but plans were aborted when a riot broke out on O’Connell Street. A large amount of construction material on the parade route contributed to the extraordinary explosion of anger by local youths.

Following a meeting with senior garda officers last June, Fair said it would hold a cultural event in the Irish capital later this year, without giving details. That event has now been cancelled.

Organisers of the march said that there “was no need” for the demonstration because their concerns were now being adequately addressed politically by the 26-County government.

‘Fair’ spokesman Willie Frazer said the Dublin government would examine the question of the supply of arms to republicans during the conflict. He hopes for increased Irish diplomatic pressure on Libya, where some arms were sourced, and improved treatment for Protestants killed in the conflict.

Mr Ahern said last night the meeting was focused on the past and “how best to move forward”.

Both sides confirmed the question of government funding for ‘Fair’ was mentioned, but no commitments were made. ‘Fair’ said Dublin had provided more financial support for “republican organisations rather than unionist ones”.

Mr Ahern welcomed the decision not to proceed with another Love Ulster rally, although he stressed the right to free assembly “in our capital city”.

“I am pleased that the Love Ulster organisers have come to the view that dialogue at the political level could be a more constructive way to take forward victims’ concerns than a public demonstration.”

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