The Canadian ambassador to Ireland, who was once hailed a hero in his homeland for bravery during a terror attack on the country’s parliament, ditched diplomatic protocol on Thursday when he tackled a protester at an event near Dublin.
Kevin Vickers, 59, was attending a commemoration at the Grangegorman Military Cemetery to remember the British soldiers who died during the 1916 uprising in Ireland. Other attendees included the British Ambassador to Ireland and government ministers.
Vickers was first to react when a man at the event started shouting, according to a witness interviewed by the Irish Independent.
“This man just ran forward and started screaming, ‘It’s a disgrace.’ He was tackled by somebody and it was only after that I realized it was the Canadian ambassador,” the witness said.
Video and photos from the scene show Vickers, a former member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, confronting the surprised protester, grabbing him and dragging him away. The ambassador is quickly followed by more men and then the protester is eventually arrested by Irish police officers.
A spokesman for Canada Global Affairs confirmed in a statement that Vickers “intercepted a protester who ran up to the podium.” The ambassador “is safe and was not injured during the incident.”
The centenary of the rebellion, which led to the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922, has been controversial in Ireland as the organizers have sought to remember the bravery of the rebels while recognizing many people impacted by the failed uprising, including police and soldiers (many of whom were Irish), who were killed serving the Crown.
Vickers was appointed Canada’s ambassador to Ireland in January 2015.
However, he was best known as the Sergeant-at-Arms for the Canadian parliament when, in October 2014, he he shot and killed the man who gunned down a soldier and spread terror through the halls of the parliament.
This article first appeared on NBCNews.com.