The response of gardaí to an outdoor gathering in Dublin’s south inner city on Saturday evening has been dubbed “unacceptable” by a local representative, who stated that “certain communities don’t get the response that they deserve”.
Daithí Doolan, a Sinn Féin councillor for Ballyfermot-Drimnagh said that the gathering, which has been dubbed a ‘rave’ in some quarters, at the Oliver Bond flat complex near Christchurch was allowed to run for nearly six hours before those present were dispersed by gardaí.
Earlier today, Taoiseach Micheál Martin Martin said it appeared that in certain areas the message wasn’t getting through and that people were congregating in numbers that were far too high.
"There will have to be different messaging for different contexts," he told Newstalk’s Pat Kenny show.
Footage of the event, which appears to show several hundred people present with loud music playing at the outdoor event on a five-a-side pitch, emerged on social media over the weekend leading to sustained criticism of the organisers given the capital had just been placed on Level 3 Covid-19 restrictions for three weeks.
Gardaí at first said that “no breach of regulations” had been recorded at the event, but have since said that an investigation has been opened into what happened, aimed at identifying the organisers of the event and “any other breaches of criminal legislation which may have occurred”.
That investigation is understood to include possible incidences of drug dealing.
“Gardaí responded to reports of a gathering at a residential complex on Oliver Bond Street on Saturday evening,” a spokesperson for the force said.
“A number of patrols were conducted in the area over the course of the evening and by approximately 11pm Gardaí requested all persons to disperse and maintained a presence in the area.”
“A lot of serious questions need to be answered as to what happened,” Mr Doolan said.
“I haven’t seen a gathering like this in a long time. Since the notice of restrictions was given on Friday gardaí should’ve been primed to respond.
“You even see it with the current environment with fireworks going off across the city. Gardaí need to be ready, this weekend showed that they’re not.
“Would this kind of gathering be tolerated in Foxrock or Blackrock (areas in the suburbs of the city’s southside)?” Mr Doolan asked.
“You get the impression there is a tolerance of this behaviour, like with certain areas the idea is ‘let’s not go in there, let’s contain this’.”
“Instead of putting up checkpoints across the city the gardaí should be reacting in a proactive way to this kind of thing because this is disgraceful and unacceptable.
"The good people of Oliver Bond pay their taxes the same as everyone else, they deserve to be treated better,” he added.