Belfast Telegraph

Queen Elizabeth barred from Dublin pub: Celtic star's dad ordered to bin banner

A publican has been ordered to remove a 40-foot banner barring the Queen from his premises during her State visit to the Republic of Ireland.

John Stokes said he reluctantly agreed to take down the controversial sign after a senior Garda threatened to object to his application for six late licences at Dublin District Court.

Judge Paul Kelly told Mr Stokes — the father of Celtic footballer Anthony Stokes — to give an undertaking to remove the sign from outside The Players Lounge in the Dublin suburb of Fairview, and promise not to erect another one.

“You have a perfect right to protest as long as you do this within the law,” the judge added.

“I've no doubt there will be a planning issue with a sign that size.”

Garda Inspector Liam Dillon told the court his objection, based on public safety concerns, would be withdrawn if the banner was removed by 5pm.

The publican agreed, stating the livelihoods of his 12 staff members would be at risk if he did not get late licences at the pub, where a doorman and two customers were injured during a shooting last year.

But outside court Mr Stokes (54) vowed to continue his protest against the Queen, who is expected to visit the Irish capital for the first time in May.

“I'll just have to find another way that's acceptable to An Garda Siochana,” he added.

Mr Stokes said the stunt had nothing to do with his son who, like Celtic manager Neil Lennon, has received sectarian threats.

The republican maintained his objection was not against the Queen as a person, but as the head of state and commander of the British Armed Forces.

“This is nothing against English people. We've a lot of English people in the pub, we show English football,” he said.

“I do feel it's not the right time for the Queen to visit this country and I feel I have a democratic right to express that view.”

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