Geldof did not want association with ‘pig’ Aung San Suu Kyi

Musician said returning Freedom of the City award not a slight on Dublin, in Late Late Show interview

Bob Geldof explains why he chose to give back the Freedom of the City of Dublin in protest against Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi holding the same accolade. Video: Late Late Show/RTE One

Bob Geldof decided to return his Freedom of the City of Dublin as he did not want to be associated with the "pig" Aung San Suu Kyi, who previously received the honour.

Mr Geldof described Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi as a "handmaiden to ethnic cleansing", in an interview on the RTÉ One Late Late Show set to air at 9:35pm on Friday night.

In December councillors on Dublin City Council voted to revoke Ms Suu Kyi's Freedom of the City, following controversy over reports of the ethnic cleansing of the minority Rohingya community by the Myanmar military.

Speaking in an interview on the Late Late Show, Mr Geldof said Ms Suu Kyi was an "accomplice to murder", and a "disgrace" to the other recipients of the honour.



“I just said it is a gesture, I know it is embarrassing and it is small but I don’t want to be part of this. Everyone resorts to the Nazis but if Hitler was on our roll of honour he’d have been long gone, there is no question of it,” the Boomtown Rats frontman said.

Mr Geldof decided to return his Freedom of the City scroll to “raise the level of debate” around revoking the honour from the senior Myanmar politician.

“I didn’t want to make it a big thing but I thought she should be taken off,” he added.

“Honestly, I didn’t want to, it’s a lovely thing . . . It’s on my wall, not many things that I have are on my wall. It was on my wall. I took it off and undid the frame and rolled it up and thought ‘jaysus we’ll do it anyway’,” he said.

“I gave it back to the person who gave it to me, who was the Lord Mayor at that time,” he told television host Ryan Tubridy.

Returning the honour, which he received in 2006, was not a slight on the people of Dublin, or intended to come across as grandstanding, Mr Geldof said.

“I understood what a great honour it is, but I just don’t want to be associated with those people in any way,” he said.

Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is acting Europe Correspondent of The Irish Times