Geldof returns Freedom of the City of Dublin in Aung San Suu Kyi protest

Update 11.54am: Bob Geldof has officially handed back his Freedom of the City of Dublin award.

Earlier:Bob Geldof has arrived at City Hall in Dublin to return his Freedom of the City of Dublin.

The campaigner said it is in protest against Aung San Suu Kyi holding the same honour.

Myanmar's leader has been widely condemned for failing to tackle the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims.

Bob Geldof and Councillor Mannix Flynn. Photo: Tom Hanon/PA Wire

He admitted the move is a PR stunt.

"It is a PR stunt to try and dissociate this city from a murder. I don't want to give this up, I'm really proud of it. I get handed things by states and cities around the world but I'm a Dub and this meant very much to me," he said.

"It doesn't mean much to anybody else but to me, I don't want to do but it's the most I can do - and the least," he added.

The Lord Mayor of Dublin has suggested it is hypocritical of Bob Geldof to hand back his Freedom of the City.

Lord Mayor Micheál MacDonncha believes she should be stripped of the Freedom of Dublin, but is not impressed with Bob Geldof.

"Bob Geldof is entitled to return his award if he wishes to do so. It should be pointed out that as Ardmhéara I have condemned the persecution of the Rohingya people and their expulsion from their homes by the military in Myanmar and the failure of Aung San Suu Kyi to even acknowledge, let alone condemn, what the UN has described as ethnic cleansing.

"I have met Rohingya representatives in Ireland and I am pledged to assist them. When I raised the issue of removing the Freedom of the City from the Myanmar leader, consensus was not reached among the groups on the City Council, though all have condemned the persecution of the Rohingya people, and the matter is not closed.

"Regarding Mr Geldof himself, 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 last year grossly insulted the men and women of the 1916 Rising in the centenary year when he compared them to so-called 'Islamic State' (IS), causing offence to Dubliners and Irish people generally."

Earlier, Geldof told RTÉ Radio One about his intention to hand back his 'Freedom of the City of Dublin' this morning.

"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. I know that sounds grandstanding but forgive me if that's the case," he said.

He told Sean O'Rourke he does not want to be associated with the award while it is also held by Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

'If they take her off then I'd like to have it back because I'm very proud of having it and it pains me to give it up'.


Join the conversation - comment here

House Rules for comments - FAQ - Important message for commenters


Most Read in Ireland