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Gardaí and Council following definite line of inquiry in Oliver Bond Street party investigation

It’s understood the organisers of the party do not live in the flats and that drugs were widely available on the night.

People gathered outside the Oliver Bond complex on Saturday night.
People gathered outside the Oliver Bond complex on Saturday night.

GARDAÍ AND DUBLIN City Council are following a definite line of inquiry as they attempt to identify the organisers of a party at the Oliver Bond flats complex in Dublin’s south inner city at the weekend. 

Gardaí responded to reports of a large gathering at the complex on Saturday night. Around 100 people were in attendance and footage of the party, showing crowds gathering at a marquee in the grounds of the flats, was widely shared online.

Strict lockdown measures, restricting gatherings of people both inside and outdoors, came into effect in Dublin on Saturday morning following a surge in cases. Public health officials have issued repeated calls for Dubliners to cut down on their social contacts in recent weeks. 

A number of sources have told TheJournal.ie that the suspected organisers of the party do not themselves live in the Oliver Bond Street area. 

Sources also said that drug-taking during the outdoor party was “obvious” and that dealing took place with “total disregard for the local population”.

Drug paraphernalia was discovered by locals who were cleaning the area the morning after the gathering.

Sources familiar with the criminal investigation into the party explained how dealers were operating openly and offering a selection of drugs – including cocaine, cannabis and MDMA.

A large number of nitrous oxide canisters were also discovered in the aftermath of the party.

The drug, known as hippie crack, is often used by people inhaling the gas from a balloon.

It can also be ingested directly from the canister. According to TalktoFrank, a website which provides information about drugs, inhaling nitrous oxide directly from a canister is very dangerous because the gas is under such high pressure.

It can cause a spasm of the throat muscle and cause the user to stop breathing. The HSE warned at the start of this year that use of this drug was on the rise and it was being purchased online. 

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Meanwhile, in a letter sent to residents at the complex last Wednesday, the council said a recent increase in Covid-19 cases was likely to result in further visitor restrictions for the capital and expressed concerns over a “number of breaches” of government guidelines at the complex in recent weeks. 

“Unfortunately, I must remind residents that no temporary structure such as marquees or bouncy castles are to be erected within the public areas of Oliver Bond House, the football pitch or its grass areas without the written consent of Dublin City Council,” a council official wrote. 

“Regrettably there has been a number of such breaches of government guidelines resulting in numerous complaints in regards to late night noise and partying within the complex. These complaints are considered serious breaches of tenancy and will be dealt with as such,” they said. 

In a statement issued yesterday, a spokesperson for An Garda Síochána said they are not investigating breaches of public health regulations by those in attendance at Saturday’s party, noting: “Social distancing, wearing of masks in public areas and other such guidelines are not penal regulations.”

However, they noted that under an amendment to the Health Act which came into effect on Saturday, 19 September, people are not allowed to organise an event in breach of the Covid-19 guidelines.

Dublin is current under Level 3 of restrictions, meaning no outdoor gatherings of more than 15 people are permitted.

Gardaí confirmed they are “carrying out an investigation to identify the organiser(s) of this event”, and also investigating “any other breaches of criminal legislation which may have occurred”.

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“In supporting the Covid-19 public health guidelines and regulations, An Garda Síochána has and will continue to adopt a graduated policing response based on its tradition of policing by consent. This has seen gardaí engage, educate, encourage and, as a last resort, enforce,” the statement added.

Speaking on The Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the guards’ approach “all along, operationally, has been to encourage compliance, work with people, engage with people, enforcement is a last resort”.

Martin described the type of gathering seen on Saturday night as “a serious issue” in terms of the spread of Covid-19.

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Cónal Thomas/Garreth MacNamee

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