10/01/2013

Dublin Flag Protest Called Off

A loyalist protest to be staged outside Leinster House in Dublin this Saturday has been called off.

The move follows talks between An Garda Síochána and the protest’s planner, Willie Frazer.

Gardai had been in the process of drawing up plans to police the protest, given the high chance of clashes between loyalists and dissident republicans.

But Mr Frazer, who is chairman of FAIR (Families Acting for Innocent Relatives), contacted gardai yesterday via his associate, Barry Halliday.

He told gardai he had decided to call off the protest but said he would be organising a protest in the coming weeks.

Mr Frazer originally announced that he and his supporters would be travelling to the Irish capital to protest the restrictions to the flying of the union flag at Belfast City Hall.

It has been widely reported that he was intending to protest the flying of the Irish tricolour at Leinster House. However, the flag will not be flying as it is only raised when the Oireachtas is sitting.

An Garda Síochána has confirmed the cancellation of the protest. In a statement, it said: "We can confirm that senior Garda management were in communication with a representative of Mr Frazer today. These discussions were both positive and constructive.

"As previously stated An Garda Síochána facilitate peaceful protest and fully recognise the democratic right to do so. We also recognise the rights of others to go about their lawful business and the day to day needs of the business community and local residents. We would advise any organisation(s) who intend staging a protest or demonstration to contact An Garda Síochána in advance and the relevant local authority."

In response, Mr Frazer said: "I wish to go on record as welcoming the recognition of the Garda Siochana as to our right to peaceful protest in Dublin and the accommodating measures they were putting in place for us the protesters and concerned citizens of Ulster. We look forward to traveling down in the near future."

(IT)

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