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Tents along the Grand Canal in Dublin (file photo)
Grand Canal

Gardaí 'categorically reject' claims that school group was escorted near canal due to tents

The false claim has been shared on anti-migrant social media pages.

GARDAÍ HAVE REJECTED claims that members of the force escorted school pupils near the Grand Canal in Dublin because of the presence of tents belonging to asylum seekers.

They explained that an escort, which featured in images alongside the claim on social media, was carried out by a local community policing unit as part of its regular activity.

Multiple posts on social media in the past 24 hours have claimed that a group of schoolchildren were given an escort by Gardaí along the canal in Dublin 2 because asylum seekers were living in the area.

Dozens of tents have been erected between the Baggot Street and Leeson Street bridges along the canal, despite an initial operation to remove them last week and following the previous placement of tents along nearby Mount Street.

A Garda spokesperson said the escort was to assist almost 100 pupils on a school trip, in order to ensure they did not get separated and to help them cross at traffic junctions. 

The false claim was shared on at least two different anti-immigrant pages on Facebook and X, where it has been shared by hundreds of other accounts and seen almost 70,000 times.

“It appears as if Gardaí are escorting school children past the foreigner camp on Dublin’s Grand Canal,” the post reads. “In other words, Gardaí are aware these men are dangerous.”

Both posts featured unblurred images of a line of children accompanied by a Garda carrying a schoolbag.

In a statement to The Journal, a Garda spokesperson dismissed the claim and said they “categorically reject any assertion” that the children were being escorted as a result of the tents.

“In this case [Gardaí walked] almost 100 young pupils on a school trip across the city as there were a lot of major junctions and crossings on the route,” a statement reads.

“Gardaí assisted by making sure the young children did not get separated due to their large numbers and the rapid changing of some of the crossings.”

The spokesperson added that such escorts are “a very common occurrence” for the unit involved, which has assisted a number of schools in the area “and will continue to do so”.

The statement also said that Gardaí are “acutely aware of the continued proliferation of misinformation, disinformation and fake news” in relation to asylum seekers.

Similar claims have circulated across social media in recent months, following the significant increase in people coming to Ireland to seek international protection.

The State has told arriving asylum seekers that they cannot accommodate them, and hundreds have been living in tents as a result.

There are currently almost 1,800 men who have not received an offer of State-provided accommodation.

Charities have sought to help those without accommodation by providing tents to some of those who have not been given shelter by the State.

As a result, many of those without accommodation have begun erecting tents in the area around Mount Street and the Grand Canal, which is close to the International Protection Office.