Gardaí defend policing operation in Dublin after 19 arrested in second night of trouble

Gardaí defend policing operation in Dublin after 19 arrested in second night of trouble

Saturday night once again saw a strong Garda presence on the streets of the capital as officers armed with riot shields dispersed crowds from a number of areas such as Stephen's Green, Temple Bar and South William Street.

A senior garda has defended its policing operation in dealing with public order offences in Dublin, claiming it was to defend its members.

It is believed a small group of young people are behind the persistent antisocial behaviour on the streets of Dublin this weekend.

Assistant Garda Commissioner Anne Marie Cagney said that three gardaí were injured over the weekend.

Officers used shields and batons as large crowds gathered in the city centre.

19 people were arrested for alleged public order offences following another night of disorder in Dublin city centre on Saturday.

Glass bottles and other missiles were thrown at gardaí after they clashed with large crowds gathered in the city.

Commissioner Cagney said: “Unfortunately yesterday evening, and the evening before, we had a number of individuals who just won’t accept that there are laws to abide.

They have taken it into their own hands to try and cause trouble for the community, and this is unacceptable behaviour. We have had a number of missiles thrown at gardaí and part of our community are living in fear.

“This will not be tolerated.

“It’s a group of like-minded, young individuals who are predominately coming into the city and causing trouble.

“Our response throughout the course of our policing activities have been a graduated response. It’s to protect our members.

“We’ve had three members injured over the weekend and I will not tolerate that.” 

Minister for Justice Heather Humphreys said the vast majority of people are enjoying the bank holiday weekend safely in Dublin.

“We should not allow the actions of a tiny minority intent on causing trouble overshadow that,” she tweeted.

“While none of us want to see situations where An Garda Siochana deploys the Public Order Unit, they must do so on occasion to protect the public and their colleagues.”

Gardaí say parts of Dublin are being left in fear after another night of trouble in the city centre.

The Assistant Commissioner said there is a small cohort of people who have taken it into their own hands to try and cause trouble and disrupt communities.

"We have had a number of missiles thrown at Gardaí. We have parts of our community left in fear and this will not be tolerated," said Assistant Commissioner Cagney.

Saturday night once again saw a strong Garda presence on the streets of the capital as officers armed with riot shields dispersed crowds from a number of areas such as Stephen's Green, Temple Bar and South William Street.

With 19 people being arrested last night it brings to 33 the number of people arrested for public order offences in Dublin so far this weekend.

A member of the public, who was not a member of any group partaking in public order incidents, was assaulted and taken to hospital to receive treatment.

 Huge crowds of young people on South Anne Street in Dublin city this evening. Picture: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie
Huge crowds of young people on South Anne Street in Dublin city this evening. Picture: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

At around 9pm, multiple glass bottles were fired at Gardaí on South Anne Street from a group of approximately 200 young people.

Later, at around 10.15pm, Gardaí again came under fire from glass bottles, this time in Temple Bar Square.

During both incidents, 'soft cap' public order units with shields were deployed to disperse the crowd.

According to a statement from An Garda Síochána, batons were not drawn or used at any time when large groups were moved along and dispersed.

Gardaí reported a number of criminal incidents occurring during the evening including a bin being set on fire on South William Street.

Two juveniles were arrested and referred for Juvenile Diversion Programme. Six received cautions and one person was released pending a summons for public order offences.

A further 10 people were charged with public order offences and will appear in court at a later date.

'We need to maintain public space for everyone', says Lord Mayor

Gardaí make an arrest at Grafton Street in Dublin during disturbances on Saturday night. Picture: Damien Storan
Gardaí make an arrest at Grafton Street in Dublin during disturbances on Saturday night. Picture: Damien Storan

Gardaí said the majority of people yesterday were socialising outdoors in a responsible manner and cited a small, organised group as engaging in persistent antisocial behaviour and public disorder.

Assistant Commissioner Anne Marie Cagney said a small cohort of people are behaving in an unacceptable manner adding that she will not allow it on the streets of Dublin.

"Our streets have to be safe for our communities and I am committed to making sure it stays safe," she said.

Dublin's Lord Mayor Hazel Chu said the behaviour of these people is appalling but stressed that it is a small group of individuals.

"We need to maintain public space for everyone to use and use safely and there seems to be a good few bad eggs among the bunch so we need to make sure we keep that in control," said Ms Chu.

The Lord Mayor said it may be time to look at tackling the issue in a different way.

Her comments come as members of the public have been voicing their objections to the decision to seal off some roads and close parts of the city.

Gardaí with riot shields move in to disperse crowds on Anne Street south in Dublin City following disturbances on Saturday night. Picture: Damien Storan
Gardaí with riot shields move in to disperse crowds on Anne Street south in Dublin City following disturbances on Saturday night. Picture: Damien Storan

Yesterday, Social Democrats TD for Dublin Central Gary Gannon said that shutting off the city centre in reaction to the scenes on Friday would make no sense.

“This will settle itself down, we’re going to have outdoor dining soon, if we start cordoning off the city it’ll just fuel people’s annoyance even more,” he said.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has also raised concerns about the scenes in Dublin over the past number of weekends.

"The last thing we need on the streets of Dublin is the gardaí baton-charging large groups of people on the street," Ms McDonald said.

"I am concerned that there might not be a plan. I think at this point gardaí, Dublin City Council and any and all other statutory agencies need to put their heads together.

"We have said to people this will be an outdoor summer. There is now a duty on all us to ensure we can have a safe and orderly outdoor summer."

A heavy Garda presence is expected in the city centre again this evening.

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