herald

Monday 18 December 2017

Why the President's a big fan of rapper who protested against the queen's visit

PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins has paid a glowing tribute to a talented female rapper who is no fan of authority.

The Herald revealed last week that 'Temper-Mental MissEllayneous' -- or Elayne Harrington (24) -- had to be restrained as she struggled with gardai after a demonstration turned nasty on the evening of Tuesday, May 17 last year.

Ms Harrington, from Sycamore Road in Finglas, was arrested after the incident and spent a night in custody before being charged with two public order offences at a special late night sitting of Cloverhill District Court.

She was one of 20 people charged with offences arising from violence in Dublin city during the first day of Queen Elizabeth's historic visit.

After her court appearance she was released on bail.

It is understood that the charges were subsequently withdrawn but then re-entered and Ms Harrington is due before a sitting of Dublin District Court in late April.

But all that must have seemed light years away for her yesterday when Ms Harrington gave a special performance for President Higgins at the Music Show in Dublin's RDS.

Afterwards the president said: "What I find in her poems is that she's letting her life flow through the rhythms and sounds."

In his opening address at a panel discussion on activism in music, President Higgins remarked on the unique nature of music and told the young audience how it has been used around the world to express political ideals.

It is not thought that Ms Harrington's arrest last May was the result of her political ideals.

However we understand that she was reciting poetry and playing a bodhran at the protest before events turned violent and a riot broke out. The rapper was not involved in violent activity at the demonstration.

Ms Harrington played a leading role in last week's Reality Bites documentary which followed some of the most prominent characters involved in Ireland's rapping scene.

According to last week's show, Ms Harrington uses her rapping to preach a strong sociological message.

kfoy@herald.ie

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