Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has described as “thuggish behaviour and completely unacceptable” public order incidents in Dublin city centre last night where 14 people were arrested after glass bottles were thrown at gardai
The Minister told RTÉ that “nobody has the right to attack our garda, absolutely nobody … it in no way represents our country”.
The arrests followed a series of alleged public order offences after crowds congregated at several locations including South William St, St Stephen's Green and Temple Bar Square, gardaí said.
In a statement this morning, the force said a group of people threw glass bottles and other objects at gardaí on South William Street. The statement said officers attempted to engage with this group and then decided to disperse it.
Videos posted on social media show gardaí with batons drawn, charging crowds on South William St.
In total, 14 people (nine adults and five juveniles) were arrested for public order offences and detained at Pearse Street and Kevin Street Garda stations.
Six people were charged with public order offences and released. Two people received an adult caution while one was released pending a summons for public order offences. The five juveniles were released and referred for juvenile liaison officers.
One garda received hospital treatment after being injured in the leg and one Garda patrol vehicle was damaged.
The Garda statement said the force would continue to patrol and manage crowds on public streets and spaces this weekend.
"While extra facilities are being provided by local authorities An Garda Síochána appeals for consideration for other persons using the spaces, local residents and businesses."
Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said she spoke to the Garda Commissioner to raise concerns about the conduct of gardaí.
“Spoke with Garda Commissioner to raise my deep alarm at scenes in Dublin City centre last night. An outdoor summer cannot mean baton charges on our streets. We need proper joined up planning to facilitate safe social enjoyment and safety for Gardai. All agencies must engage now,” Ms McDonald tweeted.
Large groups of people also gathered in the South William St area last weekend. The scenes prompted some observers to voice concerns over social distancing and public health while others called for better facilities, such as more bins and temporary toilets.
In response one hundred and fifty portable toilets and more than 100 bins were added to Dublin city centre for this weekend to accommodate people socialising in the city.
The move followed calls from Taoiseach Micheál Martin and other politicians for better outdoor facilities on the city’s streets after a backlash about rubbish left after on-street drinking last weekend.
Local authorities around the country will be asked to put extra bins and toilets on streets to facilitate outdoor summer socialising this year.