Anti-lockdown protest organiser supports Cork City demonstration '100%' despite Dublin violence 

Local representatives have said a repeat of the scenes in Dublin can not be repeated in Cork this weekend. 
Anti-lockdown protest organiser supports Cork City demonstration '100%' despite Dublin violence 

Gardai detained a person after disorder erupted at a planned anti lockdown gathering in Dublin City centre. File picture.

An anti-lockdown protest organiser has said he will '100%' support Saturday's planned demonstration in Cork city. 

Diarmaid Ó Cadhla, secretary of the People's Convention, which is organising the event, said he supports the demonstration, claiming it has been scheduled for nearly four weeks and is unconnected to the violence in Dublin at the weekend. 

The planned protest in Cork has drawn criticism from public representatives after ugly scenes of violent disorder in Dublin on Saturday.

23 people were arrested after an anti-lockdown protest turned violent in Dublin on Saturday. File picture. 
23 people were arrested after an anti-lockdown protest turned violent in Dublin on Saturday. File picture. 

Local representatives have said a repeat of the scenes in Dublin cannot happen again and fear the Cork demonstrations will be hijacked by far-right supporters intent on causing mayhem.

Fine Gael councillor Damian Boylan has said the planned protest is unacceptable and condemned threats of violence against the gardaí. 

Mr Boylan said he is liaising with the members of the city's joint policing committee and the gardaí ahead of the weekend's planned demonstration. 

Speaking to Newstalk, the Cork City councillor said: "To think for one second that somebody might come to Cork City and decide that they are going to do what was done on Saturday to the gardaí is unacceptable. We can't put up with an attack on the gardaí. An attack on the gardaí is an attack on us all."

Lord Mayor of Cork, Joe Kavanagh, said he had "every confidence" in the gardaí in Cork that they will put preparations in place to ensure the violent disorder from Dublin's demonstration does not happen next weekend. 

"I have every confidence in the gardaí here in Cork that they will put preparations in place here to ensure that there won't be a repeat of what happened in Dublin, here in Cork, well they will certainly do their best anyway," he said. 

Speaking about the violence in Dublin at the weekend, Mr Ó Cadhla told RedFM that it was “condemnable” and endangered “both gardaí and peaceful protestors".

He added: “Who benefits from that? It certainly isn’t the peaceful protesters and we wouldn’t have anything to do with that."

Mr Ó Cadhla said a number of speakers and musicians would be at the Cork event.

He said if he saw someone “likely to cause any problem” he would report them to gardaí.

Subversive elements

Mr Ó Cadhla comments follow Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond's call for the anti-lockdown protest in Cork to be stopped from taking place. 

In a statement yesterday, Mr Richmond said the "dangerous" demonstration organised online is being used by subversive elements to spread far-right propaganda. 

“Dangerous conspiracy theorists preyed on the genuine frustrations of many to recklessly bring hundreds of people out in protest against necessary public health measures aimed to fuel the spread of a killer virus.

“It is clear that subversive elements used the opportunity presented by this protest to spread their far-right propaganda, dangerous anti-science rhetoric and ultimately attack our gardaí.

Those who may be frustrated by the ongoing restrictions and considering attending protests must be aware of who the Nefarious groups behind them actually are.

“The consequences for attending protests can be damaging not just because they are super spreader events but because they can quickly descend into illegal chaos.

“With 23 people arrested and a number of Gardaí in hospital, it is crucial that any other protests like this are not allowed to happen.

“Already we can see online that another dangerous group have planned a protest for Cork next week.

“Quite simply this protest must be stopped and the organisers held to account for such reckless measures,” he said.

Saturday's violent protest between the anti-lockdown demonstrators and the gardaí in Dublin led to 23 arrests and three injuries to members of An Garda Síochána. 

"Serious challenges"

A member of the Garda Representative Association (GRA), Damien McCarthy has called on the Garda Commissioner and the Minister for Justice to meet with members of the force to discuss the “very serious challenges” and lack of resources for dealing with events such as the protests in Dublin on Saturday.

Speaking on RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland, Mr McCarthy said the State cannot allow the situation to spiral out of control and action needed to be taken to ensure that it didn’t happen again.

There was a need for a supplementary budget to ensure the force was adequately resourced and protected on the streets, he said.

Mr McCarthy said there were “obviously significant challenges” for the force and it was important to have the capacity to respond to public order situations at short notice.

It was clear that such action needed to be prioritised, he added.

Little notice

Mr McCarthy said that there had been very little notice on Saturday about the protest with no notification as there should have been about a public event. 

“It was quite clear that those that congregated went with the intent of inflicting harm on the Garda Síochána.” 

Those who attended the protest had been intent on causing harm and were well organised, he said. 

It was obvious that the event had been well planned. It had been “only by sheer luck” that there had not been more injuries.

These were very serious matters and it was now important that the gardaí be “pushed up the (vaccination priority) list” he said. 

“There is a clear case now that they have to be prioritised,” he said.

Fueled by conspiracy theories and disinformation spreading on social media, the protest turned violent after a video widely shared on social media showed a man launch a firework at gardaí policing the demonstration. 

Justice Minister Helen McEntee said there “there will be consequences” for those involved in illegal riots like Dublin on Saturday, adding further arrests are likely.

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