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Ministers condemn march by republican group in Dublin as 'sickening' and 'disturbing'

The group was criticised for marching down O’Connell Street on Saturday.

Members of Saoradh march in Dublin city Centre to mark the 103rd anniversary of the 1916 Rising
Members of Saoradh march in Dublin city Centre to mark the 103rd anniversary of the 1916 Rising
Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

GOVERNMENT MINISTERS HAVE hit out at a march by a republican group associated with dissidents in Dublin yesterday as “sickening” and “pathetic”.

The group, known as Saoradh, held a march in front of the GPO on Dublin’s O’Connell Street yesterday afternoon, when it’s understood several hundred people took part.

During the demonstration, individuals marched down the street in green military-style jumpers and reflective sunglasses.

A number carried tricolour flags and a banner which read: “Unfinished Revolution – Unfinished Business”. 

It came less than 48 hours after the fatal shooting of 29 year-old journalist Lyra McKee in Derry, an incident which Saoradh claimed was the accidental result of a “republican volunteer” attempting to “defend people” from the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

The march was condemned by a number of political figures yesterday, and in statement this afternoon, Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan labelled it as “very disturbing”.

“I know that all right-thinking members of the public are sickened at the sight of a small number of people in paramilitary uniforms, particularly after the horrific killing of a young journalist, Lyra McKee, in Derry on Thursday night,” he said.

“These demonstrators do not represent the views of the Irish people who have been united for many decades in rejecting paramilitarism and are rightly revulsed at this display.”

republican 138_90569377 A member of Saoradh marching on O'Connell Street yesterday Source: Sam Boal

Flanagan added that he was informed that the event was policed correctly by gardaí, who had no right to disperse the protest as there is no statutory licence required for groups to assemble in public places.

Minister for Defence Paul Kehoe also criticised the group and said they should disband.

“These individuals have no support, no legitimacy and no place in our tolerant society,” he said. “They should disband and lay down their arms.”

Minister for Health Simon Harris also hit out at marchers yesterday, calling them “pathetic cowards” who had “no place in our democracy”. 

McKee’s death on Thursday night has been blamed on the so-called new IRA, and her killing has been widely condemned across the political spectrum. 

The PSNI are conducting a murder inquiry, and arrested two men aged 18 and 19 under the Terrorism Act in connection with her killing yesterday. 

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