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  • Southside

U2 criticised over their Freedom of the City letter

Tuesday, 19th December, 2017 7:59am

Story by Neil Fetherstonhaugh
U2 criticised over their Freedom of the City letter

U2 have been criticised for their letter to councillors.

U2 criticised over their Freedom of the City letter

U2 have been criticised for their letter to councillors.

U2 HAVE been criticised after Dublin City councillors received a letter from the super group calling on them to rescind the Freedom of the City from Aung San Suu Kyi.

The controversial Myanmar leader was stripped of the award last week following an overwhelming vote by councillors.

The council also agreed to a request from Bob Geldof to remove his name from the roll of honour after the singer objected to the honour held by Ms Suu Kyi.

Geldof called the Myanmar leader “a handmaiden to genocide” because of the repression of her country’s Rohingya Muslims.

U2 also wrote to councillors, urging them to rescind the award.

The band, whose 2001 song ‘Walk On’ was about the Burmese politician, said they believed Ms Suu Kyi’s failure to stand up for the rights of the Rohingya people “constitutes a betrayal of the principles for which she was so revered and for which she received the Freedom of the City”.

But People Before Profit councillor, Tina MacVeigh, who tabled a motion at the South-Central Area Committee calling for the Freedom of the City to be rescinded from Suu Kyi last September, said she found U2’s letter “offensive”.

“I tabled this motion to rescind the honour on foot of her continued silence and unwillingness to call out the violence being perpetrated on the Rohingya people in Myanmar,” Cllr MacVeigh said.

“The motion was passed and referred to the full council agenda for debate and ratification.

“But I find it offensive to receive such a letter from a group of people who are known to be tax avoiders and to socialise with the likes of ex-President Bush.

“U2 should also be ashamed of themselves. People in this country and the world over are suffering because the very wealthy and large corporations do not pay their fair share of tax.”

Her colleague, Cllr John Lyons, said: “I appreciate all communication regarding the affairs of Dublin City Council sent in by members of the public, yet the letter signed off by Bono and the boys regarding the rescinding of the freedom of Dublin City from Aung San Suu Kyi left me somewhat perplexed.

“Here, Bono, a friend and dinner companion of George W Bush Jnr and Tony Blair, [who are] responsible for the deaths of more than half a million people in Iraq, is advising Dublin city councillors on a matter of human rights.”

After last week’s vote, Bob Geldof said he was “absolutely disgusted’ that Dublin City Council had revoked his name from the Freedom of the City list in the same vote that saw the honour taken from Aung San Suu Kyi.

In a statement to RTÉ’s ‘Liveline’, the ‘Don’t Like Mondays’ singer said he had made it clear that if the award was revoked from Ms Suu Kyi he would be more than honoured to remain a Freeman of the City.

But the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr Micheal Mac Donncha, said that once he returned the award a few weeks ago, Bob Geldof had effectively revoked his status as a Freeman of Dublin.

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here