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Councillor Clare Colleran Molloy at Ballybeg Woods, one of the areas she says has seen the 'Z' grafitti.

Clare councillor calls for ban on pro-Russian Z symbol


A BAN on the ‘Z’ symbol, as a sign of support for Russia’s war on Ukraine, has been sought by a member of Clare County Council.

Clare Colleran Molloy has called on the Minister for Justice to criminalise the use of the symbol.

She told the monthly local authority meeting that the ‘Z’ now “means Russian war crimes, bombed out cities, thousands of murdered Ukrainians”.

The Fianna Fáil member spoke of her own horror and sadness at seeing the symbol appear in Clare.

“Since the invasion by Russia of the independent sovereign state of Ukraine, I have been astonished to see the ‘Z’ symbol appear in my own backyard, appearing on fairy doors on the trees in Ballybeg woods, and on the Clareabbey bridge wall,” she said.

“Thankfully, the Clareabbey bridge wall was cleaned up in advance of Minister Humphreys’ visit to open the Greenway on Thursday last.”

The Quin native also hit out at recent pro-Russian demonstrations in Dublin and elsewhere.

“Yesterday (Sunday, April 10), the Pro-Russian demonstrations in Frankfurt, Germany, Limassol, Greece and Dublin … were shameful,” she said.

“Here are people living in a free society, with access to free media, who are supporting the atrocities Russia is committing in Ukraine.

“It’s not just Putin. At the Ukrainian Embassy last evening … it was absolutely disgusting that these Russians living here in Ireland demonstrate their complete disrespect for their country of residence and the Irish people who stand against Russia’s war in Ukraine.

One of the fairy doors in Ballybeg Woods defaced with the Z symbol.

“It is my position that the Russian ‘Z’, the symbol of killings and atrocities, must be prohibited by law in every democratic state, in the interest of public order and morality.”

Councillor Colleran Molloy described the war as “civilization versus barbarism”.

Councillor Cillian Murphy said he had met and spoken with displaced Ukrainians.

“I get emotional,” he said. “We have no concept of what they’re dealing with. This is not about criminalising a letter, but about the context. This is something that ruins social cohesion.

“A small minority of people don’t want them to come and get a kick out of the chaos that is being created.”

Councillor Donna McGettigan also expressed her support.

“There is no point in putting out our arms to embrace someone if they look over your shoulder and see this symbol,” she said.

Councillor Joe Garrihy said he was very supportive of the motion.

“For evil to triumph, all it takes is for good men and women to be silent,” he said.

“The letter ‘Z’ for me used to be Zorro, now its meaning has been completely distorted.”

Councillor Pat Hayes commended Councillor Colleran Molloy for her “wonderful research and emotion behind the motion”.

“We wouldn’t want people to see this and wonder what kind of a country they have come to. I have spoke to Ukrainian people who have come to Flagmount recently and I can’t imagine what they have gone through.”

Councillor Colleran Molloy asked that the resolution be shared with all other local authorities and Clare’s Oireachtas members.

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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