Fianna Fail leader backs minister over parade visit
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin has distanced himself from a TD who criticised an Irish government minister for attending this year's Orange Order parade in Belfast.
Fingal TD Darragh O'Brien described the attendance of Brendan Griffin at the parade as "clueless".
He said the burning of the Irish tricolour and LGBT discrimination could not be ignored, saying he has never heard the Order condemn this.
"You can't sugarcoat it and pretend it's a harmless parade," Mr O'Brien said, adding that there are elements of the celebration that are "vicious".
"I don't think anyone should shy away from that fact," he said.
However, Mr Martin said he disagreed. "Brendan Griffin, like any other individual in the country, is perfectly entitled to attend Orange Order parades," he said.
Despite violence overnight, the Belfast parade passed off without incident.
Mr Griffin said his visit was an effort to break down old barriers.
"A small minority engage in that sort of behaviour and it is appallingly wrong," he said, adding that "it isn't a feature of what happens at the parade and it's not something that the Orange Order condone".