Geldof hits back at SF as he returns accolade

Bob Geldof handed back his Freedom of Dublin award today, shortly after hitting back at the Lord Mayor's 'typical Sinn Fein nonsense'.

Monday, 13th November 2017, 5:42 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 1:50 am
Bob Geldof arrives at City Hall in Dublin to hand back his Freedom of the City of Dublin, in protest against Burmese Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi holding the same award. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday November 13, 2017. Ms Suu Kyi has faced widespread criticism over her country's treatment of its Rohingya Muslim minority. See PA story IRISH Geldof. Photo credit should read: Tom Hanon/PA Wire

The musician turned up at City Hall to give back his scroll in protest against Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi holding the same accolade.

Geldof, 66, said the Nobel Peace Prize winner had “duped” Ireland.

He told RTE he was “very proud” to be on the “very select roll” of people who have been granted the freedom of the city.

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But he added: “I don’t want to be on it with a killer – someone who is at best a handmaiden to genocide and an accomplice to murder.”

Suu Kyi became a free woman of the Irish capital in 2000 as she struggled for democracy while under military arrest.

She was released in 2010 and then elected as de facto leader of the country two years ago, but has faced international criticism over lack of action to prevent alleged ethnic cleansing of her country’s Rohingya Muslims by security forces.

Geldof, 66, said she had “fought through moral force these thugs in the military”, and described her democratic rise to power as “a great moral victory”.

He added: “How much more is the onus and responsibility on you at that point to say something, to not oversee carnage?”

Lord Mayor of Dublin Micheal Mac Donncha criticised Geldof’s decision to give back the award, stating: “I find it ironic that he makes this gesture while proudly retaining his title as Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire, given the shameful record of British imperialism across the globe.”

Mr Geldof was also asked by RTE to comment on the Lord Mayor’s “second observation that you grossly insulted the men and women of the 1916 rising in the centenary year when you compared them to the so-called Islamic State”.

The Boomtown Rats singer responded: “This is just typical Sinn Fein nonsense. I wish they’d focus on the problems to hand and the issues to hand, rather than going back 100 years to some non-sequitur that has nothing to do with Aung San Suu Kyi.”

Suu Kyi’s leadership has drawn criticism from human rights groups who campaigned for her freedom during 15 years under house arrest by a military junta.

There have been calls for her to be stripped of the Nobel prize she won in 1991 and she has been condemned by international leaders over her reluctance to acknowledge violence by the army.

Geldof delivered the scroll to Dublin City Council offices.

He said: “Dublin should not have any truck with this war. She has let us Dubliners down, she has let Ireland down.”