Woman who drove into gates of Government Buildings released

Gardaí treating incident as low-level protest action rather than a major security alert

 

A woman who was arrested after driving her car into the gates of Government Buildings in Dublin has been released without charge.

A file on the matter is being prepared for the Director for Public Prosecutions, according to Garda sources.

The woman, in her 50s, pulled up at the gates to Government Buildings, on Merrion Row in the south inner city, at about 10am on Tuesday and found them closed.

Only staff vehicles can be driven through the gates, with a security pass required for the entrance to open.

The gates, and a small office to receive people on their way into the building, are constantly manned by gardaí.

The entrance also features ramps inside the gates that can be raised quickly to block vehicles in the event of one attempting to enter at high-speed.

It is understood the woman driving the car initially stopped and having been told by gardaí she could not proceed, expressed anger with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

She then sought to drive through the closed entrance, colliding with the pillar of the gates.

When the collision occurred, at low speed, the woman’s Nissan Micra stopped and she was taken from the vehicle and arrested.

The woman, who is from south central Dublin, was brought to Pearse St Garda station.

“The driver of the car, a woman in her 50s, was arrested at the scene and taken to Pearse Street Garda station,” a Garda statement said. She was detained under section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984.

Informed sources said Garda was treating the incident as a form of low-level protest action rather than terrorism or any major security alert.

The car was slightly damaged on one side and was removed on the back of a lorry.

The extent of the damage to the gate post, if any, appeared to be confined to scratches. Garda sources said the incident occurred at low speed.

Security around all public buildings, particularly Government Buildings, has been reviewed and increased in some locations in recent years amid heightened international terrorist threats.

A number of vehicles have been driven into crowds, and parliament buildings, around the world in so-called low-cost terrorism attacks.

The risk of such an incident in Ireland is regarded as low. However, there have previously been protest actions involving vehicles at Dáil Eireann on Kildare St.

In 2010 a man who owed €7.5 million to Anglo Irish Bank drove a cement mixer into the gates with the words ‘Toxic Bank’ and ‘Anglo’ on the side of the vehicle.

The incident, a protest action after the banking-led economic collapse, resulted in very minor damage to the paintwork at the entrance.

The man involved was later cleared in court, saying he never intended to do any damage. He insisted the incident was intended only as a protest action. He had also told gardaí at the time “I don’t do violence”.