Dublin city councillors kick back Suu Kyi issue to Protocol Committee
Dublin city councillors have voted against discussing Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi's Freedom of Dublin.
Independent councillor Mannix Flynn had proposed an emergency motion to be heard at the annual budget meeting and that protocols be drawn up so that the honour could be withdrawn.
But over 70% of those in attendance voted not to discuss the issue.
Fine Gael councillor Kieran Binchy said it was up to councillors to set the terms of discussion not Bob Geldof.
Mr Geldof handed back his Freedom of Dublin award earlier today, saying he does not want to be associated with the award while it is also held by Ms Suu Kyi.
Lord Mayor MÃcheÃ¡l Mac Donnacha (SF) said the issue could be discussed by the Protocol Committee and come back to the full December meeting.
The council had previously heard a motion from PBP councillor Tina McVeigh to withdraw the h onour but council management said there was no procedure to remove a Freedom of the City award.
This will now be considered by the Protocol Committee.
Mr Geldof said he was handing back the honour as he did not want to be on a "select roll of wonderful people with a killer".
He blasted the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who has faced widespread criticism over her country's treatment of its Rohingya Muslim minority.
Mr Mac Donncha said Mr Geldof's decision was "ironic", adding that Mr Geldof "is entitled to return his award if he wishes to do so."
Mr Mac Donncha said he finds 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".
Speaking on RTÃ's Today with Sean O'Rourke, Mr Geldof described Ms Suu Kyi as "at best, a handmaiden to genocide and an accomplice to murder".
Mr Geldof said he did not want to do this because he was very proud of the award. He said he understood that his gesture would not make "one whit of difference" but failure to do so would be hypocritical.
He said that if Ms Suu Kyi could be removed from the roll of honour, he said he would like to remain on it.
The accolade was last removed from a German man during World War I and given back to him later.
Dublin City Council has said it was not aware of anyone returning the freedom before.
Mr Geldof's name will remain on the honour roll until the city council formally agrees to remove it.
Mr Mac Donncha will inform the councillors of Mr Geldof's decision at the next council meeting in December.
Labour Party councillor and former mayor of Dublin Dermot Lacey expressed surprise at Mr Geldof's decision.
Speaking on RTÃ's Morning Ireland, Mr Lacey said the council had w ritten to authorities in Myanmar and to the Minister for Foreign Affairs in order to express its disquiet about the situation there.
Mr Lacey said everyone felt let down by the actions of Ms Suu Kyi, but that the award was given to her for good reasons.
He said the award would not be granted to her today, but it was granted to her at the time to reflect the work she had done up to that point.
Mr Lacey also said he did not oppose Mr Geldof's objection, but felt that handing back the award was a gesture and questioned the impact that it would have.
Leonard Doyle from the International Organisation for Migration said Mr Geldof's action was an act of "political grandstanding".
Speaking on RTÃ's News at One, Mr Doyle said it was "completely divorced" from the needs of nearly a million Rohingya refugees who have fled their homes.
He said the focus should be on their vulnerabilities rather than "some showbiz gesture" of handing back awards.Source: Google News