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Unoccupied: Gardaí remove protesters from Eyre Square

Local councillors had been putting pressure on Gardaí to remove the Galway camp ahead of the Volvo Ocean Race next month.

Eyre Square this morning
Eyre Square this morning
Image: City Galway Taxis via Twitter

GARDAÍ IN GALWAY have dismantled the Occupy Galway camp which was established at Eyre Square 215 days ago.

The Garda press office confirmed to TheJournal.ie this morning that the operation – which involved about 40 Gardaí stationed in Galway city and began in the early hours of the morning – has been completed.

One man was arrested for public order offences and is being held at Galway Garda station. RTÉ‘s Morning Ireland reports that there were about nine people at the camp before the operation this morning.

Galway City Council staff helped with the removal of the encampment. In a statement, it said it took the action to remove the protesters because the camp had been erected without consent.

Although the council said it “fully respects” a person’s right to engage in lawful protest, it added that “despite being requested to do so, the occupiers had refused to leave voluntarily”. The council said this rendered the occupation illegal.

Members of the wider public have been denied the use of part of a public amenity by this occupation for several months. Structures erected on the plaza in Eyre Square created a risk to the safety of the occupiers themselves and to others.

“The Occupy Now encampment was an occupation of a public amenity that is not permitted under the law,” it concluded.

Councillors had applied pressure on officials to remove the camp before the start of the Volvo Ocean Race next month.

Writing in The Connacht Sentinel yesterday, Ciarán Tierney said the council passed its third notice of motion in relation to the issue.

Councillors said the matter was now urgent as there would be international attention on the city from 30 June to 8 July.

A camp member told TheJournal.ie that no consultation had taken place ahead of last night’s operation. He said that those occupying the square were not given any warning.

Earlier: Occupy Galway protesters reject council request to pack up

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