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Sinn Fein's parade in Dublin like a bad day in Belfast, says councillor

By Greg Harkin

Published 19/08/2015

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams with Sandra Browne, Judith Loftus and Denise Loftus from the Cabra Historial Society, dressed as Irish Volunteers, at the launch of the O’Donovan Rossa event
Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams with Sandra Browne, Judith Loftus and Denise Loftus from the Cabra Historial Society, dressed as Irish Volunteers, at the launch of the O’Donovan Rossa event
Independent councillor Mannix Flynn

A Sinn Fein military-style parade in Dublin has been described as like "a bad day in Belfast" and "unpleasant and hostile" by a city councillor.

A senior Dublin City official has admitted there were "elements of controversy" surrounding the decision to allow a military-style re-enactment to be held in City Hall.

Assistant city manager Brendan Kenny said the Sinn Fein commemoration of the death of Fenian leader Jermiah O'Donovan Rossa proved divisive but insisted the council was not considering changing the rules surrounding the use of its venues.

Sinn Fein organised a full-scale re-enactment of the funeral earlier this month which involved dozens of participants dressed in military costume and carrying replica firearms.

Independent councillor Mannix Flynn said the event reminded him of a "bad day in Belfast".

"It was a militarised, unpleasant, hostile situation rather than something that is inclusive," Mr Flynn said.

"We had a situation where people in full military costume and carrying what looked like firearms, parading up and down the street before entering City Hall.

"It is absolutely inappropriate. I don't believe City Hall should ever be used in this manner," Mr Flynn said.

In response to the claims, Sinn Fein's leader on Dublin City Council Séamus McGrattan said the event was completely positive in nature.

"It was the type of open, inclusive event that one would like to see right across the country over the coming months," Mr McGrattan said.

Mr Kenny said it was often "tricky" for the council when deciding on applications for use of its venues.

"There was element of controversy surrounding it but we don't get caught up in the politics of these things.

"Different people have different views," Mr Kenny added.

O'Donovan Rossa, who died in 1915, was a prominent member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood.

His life as an Irish Fenian is well documented.

But he is perhaps known best in death for the graveside oration given at his funeral by Pádraig Pearse, which stirred public opinion just a year before the Easter Rising.

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