At least three people have been arrested in Dublin city centre on Sunday evening for alleged public order offences.
It brings to at least 36 the number of people arrested in the city centre this bank holiday weekend in relation to public order offences, including bottles being thrown at gardaí.
Hundreds of young people took to the streets of Dublin for a third evening on Sunday with crowds gathering on South William Street, South Anne Street, Dame Court, Dame Lane, Clarendon Street, Grafton street and across parts of Temple Bar.
While the garda presence in Dublin’s south city centre was initially small the number of officers on the streets grew significantly into Sunday night.
By 5pm on Sunday, groups of mainly teenagers had gathered on South William Street outside the Pygmalion and Alfie bars however the atmosphere remained light hearted with only a small Garda presence nearby. This Garda presence grew as the evening progressed, first around Dame Lane where public order unit gardaí moved people on without confrontations and soon after, at Temple Bar square, where large numbers of young teenagers had gathered.
Public order units also gathered at the junction of Exchequer Street and South William street after clearing the road of revellers. The crowds of mainly young people returned to the area a number of times before 9pm but were moved on each time before gardaí. On one occasion the street was filled with loud cheers as soccer balls were kicked in the air outside the Powerscourt Centre.
A couple of young men threw bottles on Exchequer Street as they were moved down towards Grafton Street by gardaí while another man was brought to the ground by a couple of gardaí after refusing to cooperate. He was subsequently released.
This journalist witnessed three separate arrests including that of a man who threw paint at a photographer. A fight also briefly broke out between two men on Exchequer Street but was resolved before gardaí arrived on the scene. The two other arrests took place on South William Street and on Crow Street in Temple bar.
By 8pm South William Street had been completely cleared and closed off by public order units while a staff member from one of the bars selling drinks said they had been asked to close by gardaí.
However, a group of around 200 young people – most appeared to be under 21 – had moved on to Temple Bar where they congregated around Curved Street and Cecilia Street with about a dozen public order unit gardaí were standing nearby.
The Garda strategy for the evening appeared to be that of moving people on from congregating in large groups around the south side of the city centre. By 9pm, these large groups appeared to have dispersed into smaller gatherings. Overall, most of the revellers who had gathered in the city centre seemed to be good natured and amenable to moving on when garda units appeared.
Asked to confirm how many arrests had been made on Sunday evening before 9pm, a Garda spokesman said the public order operation was ongoing and thus the press office was not in a position to confirm the number of arrests.
He also told The Irish Times that “at no stage this evening have members of an Garda Síochána directed licenses premises to close”.
He confirmed that gardaí had been dealing with crowds across Dublin’s south city centre on Sunday evening and that an Garda Síochána “continues to engage with members of the public as well as local residents and businesses”.