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Full review of Garda response needed after weekend of unrest in Dublin - ICCL

A full review of the Garda response to the weekend's unrest in Dublin is needed, the Irish Counci...
Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

13.59 7 Jun 2021


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Full review of Garda response...

Full review of Garda response needed after weekend of unrest in Dublin - ICCL

Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

13.59 7 Jun 2021


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A full review of the Garda response to the weekend's unrest in Dublin is needed, the Irish Council of Civil Liberties says.

They say the events of Friday and Saturday night were "a serious set of events" - and there's now a need to understand exactly how things got out of control.

Friday and Saturday night saw significant unrest in Dublin city centre, with gardaí equipped with riot shields moving to disperse crowds in some areas of the capital.

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Three gardaí were reportedly injured as bottles were thrown at officers, while over 30 people were arrested over the two nights.

Gardaí have defended the use of riot equipment, saying it was a defensive response to "unacceptable behaviour" by small groups in the city centre.

Sunday night was reportedly quieter in Ireland’s main city centres, although gardaí say there were still "significant numbers" of teenagers and young adults "loitering" in Dublin.

Another 14 people were arrested - including three teenagers - for public order offences, and seven of those have since been charged.

A further eight people were arrested in Cork for public order incidents, while gardaí moved to disperse crowds from the Kennedy Quay area.

'A serious set of events'

Pictured Members of the An Garda Siochana extinguish a small bin fire on Saturday Night in Dublin Members of the An Garda Siochana extinguish a small bin fire on Saturday night in Dublin. Photo: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

Liam Herrick, executive director of ICCL, told Lunchtime Live most people are disturbed at events in Dublin over the weekend.

He said we shouldn’t rush to pre-judgement or conclusions, as some of these cases are likely to come before the courts.

He noted it does appear there were "serious violations of public order" by some members of the public, including criminal offences - noting that anyone who throws a glass bottle is putting people in danger and should be dealt with.

However, he also pointed to footage on social media appearing to show gardaí with batons drawn 'charging' on South William Street in order to disperse the crowds.

Calling for a full review, Mr Herrick said: “There’s no other way of looking at this than a serious set of events - and we need to understand what’s happened here, and if we can do better.

“Any time we have guards using force to a significant extent in a city centre, there needs to be accountability for that.

“The question needs to be asked: what led up to that point?

“I’m not saying these circumstances could have been avoided, but we need to interrogate that.

"We certainly need to try to avoid this happening again, if we are going to have - as the Government policy - more outdoor socialising over the next couple of months."

He said gardaí generally have a good track record of not using force, so there's a need to figure out “what went wrong” on Friday and Saturday to lead to such dramatic scenes in the capital.

The ICCL wants the Policing Authority to independently oversee the review process and ask the necessary "tough questions".

They want the review to look at the police planning for such circumstances, alongside the particular events of this weekend.

Mr Herrick also suggested there seems to have been a breakdown in planning between the Government, local authorities and the gardaí.

Despite the push for an outdoor summer, he said there's still ‘confusion’ when it comes to the laws and policies around outdoor drinking and takeaway drinks.

He also suggested there's a need to at the planning for the summer to find out why there are large crowds gathering in confined spaces.

Main image: Members of the An Garda Siochana Public Order unit move on crowds of people in Dublin City Center on Saturday night. Photo: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

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