More than 120 revellers defy court order by attending the after party of a wedding

More than 120 revellers defy court order by attending the after party of a wedding

Gardaí had earlier attended the scene adjacent to a halting site on the outskirts of the midlands town to ensure a 2,000 sq ft marquee erected to host the post-wedding party was taken down.

More than 120 revellers defied a court order tonight by attending a Traveller wedding after-party in Co Longford.

Gardaí had earlier attended the scene adjacent to a halting site on the outskirts of the midlands town to ensure a 2,000 sq ft marquee erected to host the post-wedding party was taken down.

Local authority chiefs secured an emergency Circuit Court order on Wednesday morning in Sligo for the structure's removal following its emergence adjacent to Willow Park Halting Site less than 24 hours previously.

Gardaí on duty in the vicinity of the wedding after-party earlier today in Co Longford. 
Gardaí on duty in the vicinity of the wedding after-party earlier today in Co Longford. 

Several units of uniformed gardaí were drafted in to maintain a 'watching brief' at the site in a bid to prevent any unrest from taking place.

It is understood the marquee had been installed with the intention of hosting upwards of 200 people.

A number of the wedding party had earlier attended a ceremony at St Mel's Cathedral ahead of the proposed after-party.

It is understood that over 120 partygoers filed into the marquee tonight in direct contravention of current public health guidelines.

Local authority chiefs secured an emergency court order today for the removal of the marquee. 
Local authority chiefs secured an emergency court order today for the removal of the marquee. 

Cathaoirleach of Longford County Council, Cllr Paul Ross, hit out at the decision to construct the large scale marquee, insisting local authority officials had been left with little choice but to seek an emergency court order.

"It came to the council's attention yesterday (Tuesday) that a marquee had been put in place to host an after wedding party in Longford town," he said.

Obviously with the current pandemic and public health guidelines on gatherings, the council could and would not sit idly by and allow this to happen in Longford town.

Cllr Ross said the development was one which had threatened to undo the recent progress both the council and various State agencies had done in attempting to keep a lid on Covid-19 case numbers.

"Our vaccination centre is open, something which we fought hard to get and to see a large public gathering in the midst of all of this really is a kick in the teeth to all of the ordinary, law abiding citizens of this county," he said.

As Cathaoirleach of Longford County Council it is something I and my colleagues could not stand for.

Superintendent Jim Delaney confirmed gardaí were providing assistance to the council following the granting of the court order.

He also revealed attempts by officers to engage with both the wedding organisers and the owner of the marquee had ended in failure.

"We, as an organisation, employed our graduated policing response, being 'the four Es' — explain, engage, encourage, and enforce — as we have done right through the current pandemic," he said. 

We liaised with both families and the marquee owner and served them with written copies of the current State Covid-19 public health guidelines but both chose not to engage with us. 

The Longford garda chief said despite that rebuttal, files on any suspected breaches of those regulations, will be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions to determine what, if any, charges can brought.

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