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OPW refuses to grant permission for Russian Victory Day rally at Papal Cross in Phoenix Park

The organisers of the rally sought permission for it in January, before the war with Ukraine began.

The Papal Cross in Phoenix Park
The Papal Cross in Phoenix Park
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

THE OFFICE OF Public Works has said that it will not be granting permission to a Russian V Day rally in the Phoenix Park this weekend.

The event was planned to take place at the Papal Cross in Phoenix Park on 8 May, with concerns being raised by both Minister Eamon Ryan and Ukrainians living in Ireland.

The rally was planned to commemorate V Day or Victory Day, which is the Russian commemoration of the country’s victory over the Nazis during WW2 and the sacrifice made by Russian soldiers during the war.

The day is a bank holiday in Russia and is typically marked with a large-scale military parade in Moscow. It is usually celebrated by Russian communities across the world.

In a statement to The Journal, the OPW said that it received an application for the event in January – before Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine – and sought additional information on the plans.

“In January, the OPW received an application for an event at the Papal Cross in Phoenix Park on 8 May 2022. The organisers were requested to provide a signed indemnity form, to submit an event safety management plan and to provide the relevant insurance cover,” said a spokesperson for the OPW.

The spokesperson added that the event organisers were expected to meet with both the OPW and An Garda Síochána.

The OPW said that some of the requirements had not been met – without specifying which ones – and as a result they could not grant the organisers permission.

“As all these requirements have not been met, the OPW is not in a position to grant permission for this event,” said the spokesperson.

The OPW is the state-body responsible for Phoenix Park and any large event taking place within the park requires permission from the department.

Earlier today, Minister Ryan raised concerns about the proposed rally, saying that it should be called off.

“I think it will antagonise people here. People have a real sense of outrage as to what’s happening in the Ukraine,” said Ryan.

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“There is an aggressor, it is the Russian Government and the Russian army and I think celebrating or in any way supporting that, I think for Irish people would be absolutely insulting.”

The Association of Ukrainians in the Republic of Ireland (AURI) had said that they were “deeply saddened” by the planned V Day rally.

We believe that this march offends the Irish people along with all Ukrainians. Ireland has sheltered tens of thousands of Ukrainians fleeing from war, suffering from the Russian invasion of their country,” said a spokesperson for AURI.

A Garda spokesperson said that the force did not comment on “speculation on potential events organised on social media by disparate groups” but that where necessary will implement “appropriate and proportionate” policing plans to monitor public gatherings.

About the author:

Tadgh McNally

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