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Diplomat wrestles with Dublin protester at ceremony for UK's Easter Rising dead

Published 26/05/2016

Charlie Flanagan said the service was about recognising the many different narratives and experiences in one of the most defining episodes of recent Irish history
Charlie Flanagan said the service was about recognising the many different narratives and experiences in one of the most defining episodes of recent Irish history

A diplomat hailed a hero worldwide for shooting a gunman who stormed the Canadian parliament has wrestled with a protester at a military ceremony.

Kevin Vickers helped subdue a demonstrator who began chanting "insult" at the service commemorating more than 100 British soldiers killed trying to suppress the Easter Rising a century ago.

Mr Vickers, 59, was attending the State ceremony as Canada's ambassador to Ireland when a man in his 40s attempted to disrupt it.

Dressed in a suit and raincoat, he grabbed the protester by his black leather jacket before police moved in, forced the suspect to the ground and arrested him.

The former House of Commons sergeant-at-arms in Ottawa became a household name after confronting rifle-wielding Michael Zehaf-Bibeau on October 22 2014 during a gun fight in the building.

In what was described as a terror attack, Zehaf-Bibeau had earlier gunned down Corporal Nathan Cirillo, 24, who was assigned to the honour guard at the city's national war memorial.

Mr Vickers, who has a strong Irish-Canadian background, was later appointed ambassador to Dublin.

After the latest incident, a spokeswoman for the Canadian embassy in Dublin said Mr Vickers "intercepted a protester who ran up to the podium".

"Ambassador Vickers is safe and was not injured during the incident," she added.

Gardai confirmed a man in his mid 40s was arrested at around midday.

The suspect was detained at Cabra Garda station on suspected public order offences.

He was heard shouting "this is an insult" at the start of the invite-only event.

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan laid a wreath in memory of up to 125 British soldiers killed during the 1916 rebellion against British rule.

They came from across Ireland, England, Wales, Scotland and further afield.

The ceremony commemorating their deaths is one of a number organised to mark the 100th anniversary of the insurrection, which ultimately led to the creation of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

British Ambassador to Dublin Dominick Chilcott also laid a wreath on behalf of the British Government.

Mr Flanagan said the service was about recognising the many different narratives and experiences in one of the most defining episodes of recent Irish history.

"Like those that died a hundred years ago, those of us participating in today's event are a diverse group of individuals, with different backgrounds, beliefs and aspirations," he said.

"Such differences do not divide us and need not hinder us from coming together to reflect upon the moments that have shaped our islands' history.

"In the century since the events of 1916 we have learned, through painful experience, the importance of mutual respect for the different traditions and multiple narratives across these islands."

Members of the Irish Defence Forces, together with members of the British Armed Forces also participated in the ceremony.

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