Adrian Kennedy
Adrian Kennedy

08.24 25 Jul 2021


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Gardaí say they have no role in permitting or authorising protest marches during COVID-19 restrictions.

They issued the statement after a large crowd gathered in Dublin City Centre yesterday afternoon for an anti-vaccine rally.

Up to 2,000 people took to the streets of the capital protesting about COVID certificates, vaccines and ongoing restrictions.

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They initially gathered at the Customs House, before marching along O'Connell Street and on to Government Buildings on Merrion Row.

Once on Merrion Row at around 3.30pm, the large, mostly unmasked crowd, listened to speeches and music.

The protest passed off peacefully and concluded shortly before 6pm.

In a statement issued last night, Gardaí said the only law broken was by the people who organised the event.

protest Protesters gathered at Custom House Quay before making their way to Government Buildings where a number of speeches took place. Photo: Sasko Lazarov/Photocallireland

They said: "An Garda Síochána put in place a policing operation in relation to a protest planned on social media to take place in Dublin City Centre.

"An Garda Síochána has no role in permitting or authorising protest marches or gatherings, there is no permit/authorisation required for such events. A decision as to whether any protest takes place rests solely with organisers.

"The Health Act 1947 (Section 31A - Temporary Restrictions) (COVID-19) (No. 2) Regulations 2021 (SI 217/2021), as amended, are the applicable Public Health Regulations currently in effect.

"The COVID-19 Pandemic remains a public health crisis and An Garda Síochána continues to appeal to all citizens to demonstrate personal and social responsibility to comply with Public Health Guidelines and Regulations, in order to continue to save lives."

In contrast to the protest in Dublin, similar rallies in Australia and France turned violent yesterday.

A massive protest in Sydney led to a number of arrests, while in France, far-right activists and members of France’s yellow vest movement clashed with police in Paris against proposed coronavirus measures.

A bill there, similar to Ireland, would require everyone to have a special virus pass to enter restaurants - and mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for all health care workers.

Riot police sprayed tear gas on marchers after someone threw a chair at an officer.

Additional reporting by Marita Moloney

Main image: People in Dublin protesting against the COVID-19 vaccine passport and other restrictions. Photo: Sasko Lazarov/Photocallireland

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