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The protest at the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin. Eimer McAuley/The Journal

11 arrested following anti-immigration demonstration and counter-protest in Dublin

Over 300 gardaí were on duty in the city centre during the demonstrations.


ELEVEN PEOPLE HAVE been arrested after an anti-immigration protest and a counter-protest took place in Dublin city centre this afternoon. 

Gardaí said over 300 gardaí were on duty in the city centre during the demonstrations. 

A crowd gathered at the Garden of Remembrance for the anti-immigration protest at 2pm, some carrying Irish flags, as well as signs and banners with slogans such as “Ireland first” and “mass immigration”.

The protest began on Parnell Square East, with families and children among those gathered, before moving down O’Connell Street and onto the quays. There was a large number of gardaí present along O’Connell Street. 

Speeches were then made outside Custom House. 

A garda spokesperson said that uniform frontline gardaí were supported by members of the Garda National Public Order Unit, Garda Mounted Unit, Garda Dog Unit, Garda Air Support Unit, Divisional Plain Clothes Gardaí and gardaí from national units.

The spokesperson said that “following the events on Custom House Quay, a small group attempted to cause further traffic disruption” in the city centre. 

“An Garda Síochána proactively engaged with and disrupted this group’s activity,” the spokesperson said.

Eleven arrests were made, primarily for summary offences under the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1994. 

During speeches outside Custom House at the anti-immigration protest, calls were made to vote no in the upcoming referendums in March.

A number of prominent members of Ireland’s small far right movement were in attendance at the gathering. 

Members of the National Party and the far-right Irish Freedom Party were also present at the demonstration. 

A counterprotest also took place outside the GPO on O’Connell Street. 

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett told those gathered at the counterprotest that those who claim they are “defending our culture are doing the very opposite”. 

Boyd Barrett told the crowd: “We have to be the people that unite together and mobilise to fight for housing for everybody, afford housing, to fight for a decent health service, to fight for workers’ rights, and to fight for a progressive society where the wealth is shared equally and fairly among all people regardless of race, colour, creed, gender or any other identification.

“That is the real Ireland we have to fight for.” 

Speaking about today’s operation, Strategic Commander Chief Superintendent McMenamin said Gardaí had to police “a challenging environment with a number of public gatherings organised and attended by persons with divergent and opposing views whilst also managing the rights of citizens to enjoy the amenity that is Dublin City Centre”. 

“Despite the challenging environment and the intensity of opposing interactions, particularly on O’Connell Street, the events passed off primarily peacefully,” he said. 

“I want to thank the business community and public transport companies in Dublin City Centre for their support throughout the afternoon.”

There were some delays on the Luas Red and Green lines due to the protests, while some Dublin Bus routes were diverted. All public transport services have since returned to normal operations.

A number of demonstrations have taken place around the country at buildings earmarked for asylum seekers in recent months.