'Significant' policing plan in place over potential St Patrick's Day protests

'Significant' policing plan in place over potential St Patrick's Day protests

An anti-lockdown protest in Dublin city centre which took place last month. Picture: Damian Eagers/PA Wire

Gardaí are urging people to stay at home on St Patrick’s Day, adding that a policing plan is in place in relation to any protests. 

A number of protests are reported to be taking place in Dublin on Wednesday. 

Gardaí said that with “multiple protest events” being planned on social media “by disparate groups” in different parts of the capital, a “significant policing operation” is required.

A statement said that gardaí are “advising the public to refrain from any non-essential journeys to the city centre on the day as restrictions and cordons will be in place that may hinder easy movement around the city”.

Gardaí said that a policing plan is in place in relation to the protest events and that a "large number of Garda personnel supported by national units such as the dog unit, the mounted unit, air support, and public order” will be deployed.

Checkpoints will also be in place on “arterial routes into the city and checks will be conducted on public transport” over the course of St Patrick’s Day.

More than 2,500 gardaí will be on duty across the country at any one time tomorrow.

The Gardaí said that in line with public health advice it “would ask people not to organise or attend such protests”.

“In all its engagement with the public, as has been the case during the pandemic, An Garda Síochána will continue to use its 4Es approach – engaging, explaining, and encouraging with enforcement a last resort.

Any Garda activity in relation to evolving events will be in line with this graduated policing response taking into account public health regulations and advice.

The Deputy Commissioner for Policing and Security has urged people to stay at home on Wednesday.

Anne Marie McMahon said: "While it won’t be a normal St Patrick’s Day, we can still all enjoy the day safely at home.

"Staying home this St Patrick’s Day is the best thing people can do for their country and the best thing they can do for the people they know and love.” 

The statement added that “as is the case with all protests, An Garda Síochána seeks to engage with protests groups in advance”.

“However, some groups choose not to engage with us. It should also be noted that An Garda Síochána has no role in licensing or approving such protests.” 

Speaking on Newstalk this morning, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said that it would be such a pity to mark St Patrick's Day by making someone you love sick by attending an event. 

Despite the weariness, progress was being made, he said, so public behaviour had to remain unchanged and people should not congregate.

House parties 

Gardaí said that house parties and large social gatherings are still occurring, despite public health advice.

As of March 12, gardaí have issued 429 fines for organising a house party and 1,677 fines for attending a house party.

The fine for organising a house party is €500, while there is a €150 fine for attending one.

People have been urged to plan any activities and are reminded that they are only allowed to exercise within 5km of their home.

“The public should also be aware that both drivers and their adult passengers found to be in breach of the non-essential travel regulations can be fined.  

“This is also the case for adults in groups undertaking activities such as cycling or walking – every adult in such a group can be fined,” gardaí added.

Gardaí also urged people not to park illegally if visiting amenities within their 5km.

The statement also reminded persons subject to domestic violence that ravel restrictions do not apply in the case of domestic violence or to escape a risk of harm, whether to the person or to another person.

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