Gardaí on alert as wedding marquee ordered to be removed from halting site

Gardaí on alert as wedding marquee ordered to be removed from halting site

A table is removed as Gardai and contractors remove the wedding marquee at Burton Park, Leopardstown this afternoon which has been ordered to be taken down by Judge Sinead Ni Chulachain. Picture: Colin Keegan

A marquee erected for 40 wedding guests on a halting site was removed after gardaí turned up in force to make sure the reception did not go ahead.

More than 20 marked and unmarked Garda vehicles, including five public order vans, stood by as a firm of civil engineers dismantled it yesterday afternoon.

A judge had told Michael and Johanna Connors that if they did not take it down, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council could go onto the halting site and remove it.

Dublin Circuit Civil Court had heard that although Mr Connors knew the planned wedding reception for his son at Burton Park, Leopardstown Rd, Dublin 8, was a breach of his tenancy agreement and against Covid-19 rules, it was going to go ahead.

Judge Sinéad Ní Chúlacháin had also warned that anybody trying to attend the reception faced arrest.

Garda units started arriving at the halting site around 2pm. A long stretch of vehicles and personnel flanked both sides of the entrance of the halting site when the wedding couple arrived back in a stretched hummer limousine.

Passing traffic had to be diverted away from the lane nearest the site as Garda vehicles built up while the marquee was dismantled.

Representatives of the Traveller community had condemned the planned event as 'highly dangerous' and a potential Covid-19 'super spreader'.

Pavee Point's Martin Collins told the Herald newspaper that anyone who had planned to attend was "effectively playing Russian roulette with their lives".

And he said that while most Travellers were following public health guidelines, the planned reception had been "inexcusable and indefensible".

At the earlier court hearing, Judge Ní Chúlacháin told the local authority’s barrister Niall Flynn she would make an order restraining the Connors, and anyone else knowing about the court injunction, from interfering with independent contractor employees while demolishing the wedding marquee.

A large Garda presence as contractors remove the wedding marquee at Burton Park, Leopardstown. Picture: Colin Keegan
A large Garda presence as contractors remove the wedding marquee at Burton Park, Leopardstown. Picture: Colin Keegan

Mr Flynn, who appeared with solicitor Liz Neary for the council, said Mr Connors told a council official he knew he was breaching tenancy and Covid-19 rules and regulations but the reception would go ahead.

"I know I’m breaching my tenancy but it is my son's wedding and he has no other place to go," Mr Connor told council officials, the court heard.

He also said he accepted the "consequences of not taking it down".

The council was also given leave to broadcast the court’s orders on national radio stations even as the bride and groom and their guests were on their way from Co Armagh for yesterday's planned 6pm reception in Co Dublin.

Judge Ní Chúlacháin said she noticed from photographs of the marquee showed there were 11 tables surrounded by chairs in the marquee, enough chairs to accommodate more than 60 people.

The local authority was also concerned about the lack of insurance cover for the event.

Members of the wedding party arrive as gardaí and contractors remove the marquee. Picture: Colin Keegan
Members of the wedding party arrive as gardaí and contractors remove the marquee. Picture: Colin Keegan

Judge Ní Chúlacháin gave the council leave to serve personal notice on Mr Connors and also pin up notices outlining details of the court’s orders.

The judge also directed that everyone associated with the reception, including the bridal party and guests, be warned they had been restrained from entering the marquee.

Mr Flynn indicated the council had significant concerns relating to the use of the marquee for the wedding reception which, he said, unless restrained by the court the Connors planned to go ahead with.

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