herald

Tuesday 18 December 2018

'He's made a big difference' - Irish Rohingyas hope Bob keeps award

Bob Geldof
Bob Geldof

The Irish Rohingya community has expressed hope that Bob Geldof keeps his Freedom of Dublin honour.

On Thursday, the Irish rocker hit out at how Sinn Fein dealt with his decision to hand back the award.

Haikal Mansor, an advocate from the Rohingya community, told the Herald that they do not want to get mixed up in the dispute between Mr Geldof and Dublin City Council.

However, he believes the singer is still worthy of the honour.

"Both the council and Mr Geldof have shown so much solidarity towards the Rohingya community," he said.

"Bob Geldof has brought so much attention to the genocide of our people in Burma [Myanmar], which has made a big difference."

Difficult

"It's very difficult for the community to answer whether or not the council should give back the Freedom of Dublin.

"We do not want to take sides," he added.

Last month, Mr Geldof handed back his freedom scroll in protest at the inclusion of Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi on the honour list.

However, at the time he said the freedom of the city meant a lot to him and he hoped a way could be found to remove Ms Suu Kyi, so that he could remain on the list.

On Wednesday night, the council first voted to remove the Myanmar leader from the list of people with freedom of the city - then voted to also remove Mr Geldof from the list.

Mr Mansor added that he does not condemn Dublin city councillors who voted to honour Ms Suu Kyi back in 2010.

"She clearly deserved the freedom of the city at that time," he said.

Furious

"But looking at the current situation and how much she has changed over the years, it's now clear she doesn't deserve it."

Councillor Mannix Flynn, who helped Mr Geldof return the honour, said the singer was furious with how the Sinn Fein-dominated council had dealt with the matter.

"I supported the motion that we would remove the freedom of the city from Bob Geldof on the basis that we would return it," Cllr Flynn said

"But it was the manner in which he was removed from the scroll and the manner in which Sinn Fein tried to demonise him, along with other councillors in the chamber for taking a stance.

"It was absolutely appalling," he added.

Dublin Lord Mayor, Micheal Mac Donncha, said the matter was not up to Sinn Fein.

"The council voted, it wasn't a Sinn Fein vote," he said.

"We simply confirmed what Bob Geldof himself had done."

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