Canadian ambassador Kevin Vickers reacted instinctively when he tackled a protester during a state ceremony in Dublin yesterday to mark the deaths of British soldiers in the Easter Rising.
The distinguished former member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police sprang into action and pulled the man away from the centre of the commemoration at Grangegorman Military Cemetery.
Mr Vickers, whose family are descended from Co Cork emigrants, was hailed as a hero when he stopped an attack on the Parliament of Canada in October 2014.
Canadian Ambassador to Ireland Kevin Vickers tackles protester at ceremony to honour British soldiers killed in 1916https://t.co/idQ3g16gG8— RTÉ News (@rtenews) May 26, 2016
In his previous role as the sergeant-at-arms of the House of Commons, he shot a gunman who had already killed a soldier guarding the building.
Around midday yesterday, a protester who claimed to represent the Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association, stood up from seating reserved for invited guests and shouted that the ceremony was an insult.
He also shouted about “the Craigavon Two” — a pair convicted of murdering PSNI constable Stephen Carroll in 2009 and sentenced to life imprisonment.
When the man ran up to the podium, Mr Vickers grabbed him by the sleeves of his leather jacket and dragged him away. Moments later, gardaí wrestled the man to the ground and handcuffed him.
The protester attempted to interrupt proceedings just before the wreath party arrived.
The colour party was carrying a union flag.
Members of the Irish Defence Forces, together with members of the British armed forces, participated in the ceremony that included historical accounts by British soldiers involved in the 1916 Rising.
It is understood that the protester had managed to obtain an invitation by claiming to be a relative of one of those killed.
Gardaí said a man in his mid-40s was arrested following a public order incident in the cemetery.
The man was later charged in relation to the incident and is due to appear in Blanchardstown District Court next Tuesday.
A short statement from the government of Canada said that Mr Vickers, who was appointed as ambassador of Canada to Ireland in January 2015, was not injured during the incident.
Foreign Affairs Minister Charles Flanagan laid a wreath during the ceremony.
The British ambassador, Dominick Chilcott, also laid a wreath on behalf of the British government.
Mr Flanagan said 125 soldiers of the British armed forces died during the Rising and they came from every province on the island of Ireland, as well as England, Wales, Scotland, and further afield.
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