Protest in Dublin as a plaque unveiled to commemorate the first meeting of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland.

Demonstrators carrying placards protested as the Lord Mayor of Dublin Mary Freehill unveiled a plaque in the city centre commemorating the first meeting of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland. The meeting was held on Dawson Street just over two hundred years ago.

The protesters argued that the Lord Mayor was giving civic status to an organisation which was "inherently sectarian".

The event was low key in that no members of the Orange Order were officially in attendance. The unveiling was to coincide with the first Orange Order march in Dublin for sixty years. However, the planned march proved controversial and was cancelled.

The protest was led by the Irish National Congress. Mary Lou McDonald said,

Mary Freehill and other public representatives would really want to get to grips with their responsibility under the Good Friday Agreement which is to champion the right for people to live free from sectarian harassment. 

Mary Freehill acknowledged their right to protest saying that the challenge is to make space for everybody.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 28 May 2000. The reporter is Roisín Duffy.