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"A publicity stunt full stop" - there isn't much love for Mannix Flynn's windowsill protest among his fellow councillors

Cllr Flynn carried out a protest from the first floor of City Hall in Dublin earlier this evening.

Updated 9.40pm

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

A DUBLIN CITY Council member has dismissed a protest this evening by his fellow councilman Mannix Flynn as “a publicity stunt, full stop”.

Earlier, Independent councillor Flynn held a window ledge protest at Dublin’s City Hall, where he called for the disbanding of the Artane Band.

Flynn had tabled a motion in September calling for the Artane Band to be renamed, citing sensitivity around survivors who were abused in the former St Joseph’s Industrial School in Artane.

The protest took place in advance of the council’s monthly meeting. Flynn was eventually persuaded to end his protest and climbed back inside the building.

The meeting then proceeded slightly later than scheduled.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie Sinn Féin councillor Ciarán O’Moore said that “most of the Council think it (the protest) was disgraceful”.

“DCC doesn’t contribute a penny towards the Artane Band – why should they change their name?” he said.

300 children go through that band every week – they’re trained to the highest standards and codes and given great preparation for the world. I think that speaks for itself.

O’Moore added that he doesn’t “believe the name should be changed”.

“Mannix was seeking publicity and that’s it,” he said.

Councillor Flynn, who attended an industrial school himself in his youth, told TheJournal.ie this evening that the protest was “to get across the serious nature of our objection to the absolutely appalling nature of the history of the band”.

“You might as well have Nazis marching around seeing them in their current uniform. It’s vile,” he said.

It is not a proud history, it is a history of terror, of inhumane treatment, and of constant child rape, and we have all the proof of that to hand.
The GAA should be ashamed to be associated with them, our Lord Mayor should be ashamed regarding his previous inappropriate statements regarding the band, of whom he is patron.
We are determined that the Artane Band should cease to exist.

A Garda spokesman meanwhile confirmed the force “is aware of an incident”, although indications suggest that no investigation will ensue.

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Earlier, a group of around a dozen other protesters gathered outside City Hall , carrying placards which read ‘Disband the Artane Band’.

Cllr Flynn was seen in a first-floor window of the building, sitting on the window ledge. He was said to be “totally calm”. He got off the ledge and went inside the building just before 5.30pm.

Pasted image at 2016_10_03 05_11 PM

However the band’s general manager told TheJournal.ie last month that the band is named after the community it is based in and it is not intended that the band be renamed.

Flynn tweeted today that he had started a petition calling for the Artane Band to be disbanded.

Two gardaí attended the scene of the protest. Members of the group holding the protest said it did not have an official name.

They have handed out these fliers in relation to their protest:

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One protester, named Danny, said he had been in a number of industrial schools across Ireland. He said the protesters are all joining together in relation to this issue, but think there will not be much support for their cause.

He said the protesters believe that “at the very least the Artane Band should rebrand” because of the connection between its uniforms and historical abuse at industrial schools in Ireland, and he also said the GAA should give a public apology for its connection with the band.

The band plays at GAA events such as the All-Ireland Final.

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Dublin City Council declined to comment on the incident.

- Additional reporting Daragh Brophy and Cianan Brennan

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