BOB Geldof has been criticised for returning his Freedom of the City award from Dublin in protest at the same honour being given to Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Lord mayor Micheal Mac Donncha, who is a member of republican party Sinn Fein, said the musician’s protest was “ironic” given that he retains his knighthood.

“Bob Geldof is entitled to return his award if he wishes to do so,” he said, adding: “I find it ironic that he makes this gesture while proudly retaining his title as Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire, given the shameful record of British imperialism across the globe.”

Suu Kyi has been condemned for failing to halt the persecution of Rohingya Muslims.

Mac Donncha said: “I have condemned the persecution of the Rohingya people and their expulsion from their homes by the military in Myanmar and the failure of Aung San Suu Kyi to even acknowledge, let alone condemn, what the UN has described as ethnic cleansing.”

He said he had met Rohingya representatives in Ireland and had pledged to assist them, but that there was no consensus on the issue of removing the Freedom of the City from the Myanmar leader among the groups on the city council.