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Tony Blair protests have shamed Ireland

I was at Easons on O'Connell Street, Dublin, on Saturday for the book signing by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

I attended with a fellow public representative from Cavan and waited for an opportunity to meet Mr Blair and get a signed copy of his autobiography.

I waited with several people from different areas of Ireland, of different ages and different backgrounds, but all waited peacefully to be admitted to meet the former prime minister.

The queue of people to meet Mr Blair contained around 700 such individuals.

I and those who waited with me observed the actions of the protest group on O'Connell Street who used a megaphone prior to Mr Blair's arrival, not only to criticise his decisions but also to direct abuse at the Irish people who waited in the queue to meet Mr Blair and thank him for the role he played in the peace process.

This behaviour was inappropriate and quite embarrassing -- to see Irish people behaving in such a fashion with the world's media watching Dublin on this occasion shocked me and many of those who attended the signing.

It is very disappointing that the predominant media coverage of the occasion sent around the world was that Mr Blair was heckled and booed, and was the target of missiles and a very violent and disorderly demonstration.

What was not reported was that this conduct towards Mr Blair came from a group that behaved in a disgraceful manner and that was outnumbered six to one by those wishing to meet Mr Blair.

These individuals, some of whom were arrested due to their conduct, have not only conducted themselves in a disgraceful manner but have sent an image of this country to the world which I feel is not the view of the majority of Irish men and women.

Kevin Callan

Drogheda, Co Louth

Belfast Telegraph


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