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Gardaí maintain visible presence in Dublin city centre after public order incidents

Members of the public order unit have conducted patrols in the area all day today.

Members of the public order unit on patrol today.
Members of the public order unit on patrol today.
Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

Updated Jun 5th 2021, 8:00 PM

GARDAÍ HAVE MAINTAINED a visible presence in Dublin’s city centre today following a number of public order incidents last night during which one garda was injured. 

The incidents centred around South William Street, Saint Stephen’s Green Park and Templebar Square yesterday evening. Fourteen people, including five juveniles were arrested.

A large number of gardaí were on duty and videos, circulating on social media, show officers, with batons drawn, advancing up South William Street.

The area was scene to similar scenes last week which caused an angry response from Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan.

There have been no reports today of similar incidents, but gardaí have maintained a visible presence in the city centre, with members of the public order unit patrolling and reportedly telling people drinking alcohol in public to dump their drinks. 

Source: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

In a statement this morning An Garda Síochána confirmed reports that gardaí were attacked with bottles and other missiles.

“Large crowds were present in Dublin City Centre with the vast majority of persons socialising responsibly and enjoying outdoor activity.

“A number of public order incidents occurred at various locations in the South City Centre, primarily involving large ‘organised groups’ congregating at a number of locations including South William Street, Saint Stephen’s Green Park and Templebar Square.

“A significant uniform Garda presence was on patrol and interacted with various groups. In particular whilst interacting with a specific group at South William street, glass bottles and other missiles were thrown at Gardai.

“Having attempted to engage with these persons, with no positive response, Uniform Gardai, supported by ‘soft cap’ Public Order Gardai then dispersed this particular group from South William Street,” the statement said.

garda 258_90626054 Public order and uniformed gardaí in a skirmish line in Dublin last night. Source: Sam Boal

The garda statement outlined the numbers of arrests and an injury sustained by a garda at the scene.

“In total, 14 people (nine adults and five juveniles) were arrested for public order offences and detained at Pearse Street and Kevin Street Garda Stations. Six persons were charged with public order offences and released. Two persons received the Adult Caution while one was released pending a summons for public order offences. The five juveniles were released and referred for JLOs (Juvenile Liaison Officer cautions).

“One Garda member sustained a leg injury and received hospital treatment. One Garda Patrol Vehicle was damaged,” the statement added.

Videos showed assaults on the streets as groups of people were drinking. One of those incidents was an extremely violent engagement on Castle Market Street where a large group beat a man on the ground. 

Other videos showed incidents in Templebar and also an assault in a Dublin city centre train station. 

Separately gardaí have confirmed that a man was assaulted on Thursday night.

The Journal has learned that the victim was a shop keeper who was attacked after the window of a shop was broken.

“Gardaí are investigating an assault that occurred on Drury St in Dublin on Thursday 3 June 2021, at approximately 11.10pm.

 “A man in his 20s received medical treatment following the incident. No arrests have been made but investigations are ongoing,” a spokesperson said.

Local business group Dublin can Be Heaven said that the victim was a member of their group and explained what happened.

“The shop window of one of our members was smashed, his son who works in the business was attacked outside the premises. He was brought to hospital with facial injuries. His injuries will heal but you will have to imagine the trauma he suffered.

“The situation as regards anti social behaviour in the city centre has been deteriorating through the week, with videos of drunkeness and fighting going the rounds,” they said in a statement.

Frank Thornton, Garda Representative Association President, said the risk around Covid-19 infections among gardaí is heightened in such incidents.

“Incidents such as last night highlight the extreme difficulties and dangers that frontline gardai face while policing such large gatherings.

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“As restrictions ease the safety of our members must be supported by adequate real time resources to adequately serve and protect the public during such events.

“It is also a major concern that the GRA’s calls for government recognition as a ‘high-risk’ Covid grouping have been continually ignored yet our members are expected to deal with such challenging, largely unvaccinated gatherings,” he said.

Antoinette Cunningham of Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors criticised the incident.

On Twitter she said: “Throwing missiles at colleagues as they continue to police Government Health Regulations due to #COVID19 is simply wrong…Gardai have a very challenging job to do & deserve to be safe”.

Speaking on RTE Radio this morning, Daniel Smith of Grogans’ on South William Street spoke about his concerns around the incidents on the street outside his pub.

“We’re very concerned on things last night.

“We’ve never had any issues like that when businesses have been open, and obviously the gardaí did their absolute best. There needs to be more resources put in place for the guys to deal with this at the minute because it is becoming a serious issue,” he said.

Daniel said that there needs to be more gardaí in the area to deal with the problem.

“There’s been an influx into the city centre in recent weeks of a crowd that would not normally be in the city centre.

“It’s just a small minority who come in looking to cause trouble. And it’s kind of permeating through social media – it’s a very small minority, but they really need to be dealt with,” he added.

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