Taoiseach says Dublin Saoradh march was 'beneath contempt'

Leo Varadkar during a Commemoration marking the Anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising at the GPO today. Photo: Gareth Chaney/ Collins

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has accused the people behind yesterday's Saoradh march past the GPO 36 hours after Lyra McKee's shooting as being "beneath contempt" and "an insult to the Irish people".

In a hard-hitting statement tonight, Mr Varadkar added his voice to the condemnation of the march, saying he was appalled by what has happened.

Just 36 hours after the journalist Lyra McKee was shot dead in Derry, 140 members of Saoradh - a group linked to the New IRA - held a 1916 Easter Rising march outside the GPO in Dublin.

While gardai were not told of the march before it took place, they were aware of it and closely monitored the situation.

In a statement tonight, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said yesterday's Saoradh march was "beneath contempt" as it occurred as "people north and south are mourning the death of a brave campaigner and journalist, Lyra McKee".

Mr Varadkar warned Saoradh members they "dishonoured the legacy and memory" of those who died in 1916 and are "an insult to the Irish people", adding:

The proclamation condemns those who in the name of Ireland would dishonour the flag through cowardice or inhumanity. Those involved in dissident activity should reflect on those words.

His statement can be read in full below:

    The actions by Saoradh in Dublin this weekend are beneath contempt. People North and South are mourning the death of a brave campaigner and journalist, Lyra McKee.
    And on Sunday we marked the heroes of 1916 who put Ireland on the path to democracy. Others like Saoradh want to return Ireland to a violent and troubled past. We can never allow this to happen.
    Saoradh should apologise for their actions this weekend. The right to assemble and march was won by the men and women of 1916 who fought for freedom and the democracy we have today.
    This weekend they dishonored their legacy and memory. It was an insult to the Irish people.
    Listening to the proclamation being read out on the steps of the GPO this morning, some of the words really resonated with me.
    The proclamation condemns those who in the name of Ireland would dishonour the flag through cowardice or inhumanity. Those involved in dissident activity should reflect on those words.

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