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Garda chief says violent Dublin Airport incident was 'fuelled by drink'

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has said some people were refused travel following the incident which he said was fuelled by drink.

Robin Schiller

The Garda chief has defended the policing response to the violence that broke out in Dublin Airport yesterday afternoon.

One man was arrested and another hospitalised following a number of fights involving several men in Terminal 1.

Footage of the incident showed groups fighting for several minutes before unarmed and armed gardaí responded.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has said some people were refused travel following the incident which he said was fuelled by drink.

"I do not know at this one time what our response was to the second incident.

"I know there was an initial incident where gardaí were involved and tried to resolve that situation, but it's regrettably a violent incident which seems to have been fuelled by drink and then we did obviously deploy sufficient resources to make sure that order was resolved and indeed then a number of passengers were refused flight ," Mr Harris said.

Speaking at the annual Garda Representative Association (GRA) conference in Westport, he added that an investigation into the assaults was underway.

Commenting on the response time, he said: "Well, (gardaí) were responding to that, and I understand that, that the incidents, the initial incidents had moved then to the end of the pier.

"And gardaí were responding to other parts of the airport. So our response was on its way to bring a sense of order and an investigation is now under way in various offences of assault."

He added that he wanted to be briefed on the matter to get a detailed perspective of what happened.

Justice Minister Helen McEntee, speaking earlier in Westport, said the violent scenes were unacceptable.

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee. Picture: Collins

"Well look, I've seen the footage. It's absolutely not acceptable, people queuing to go on their holidays and a lot children around.

"They don't need to see this type of behaviour. There's an ongoing investigations underway. I've full support in the gardaí to carry out that investigation. I know that obviously only recently I opened a new police station in the airport. So there was quite a number of guards in there."

Asked where the gardaí from the new station were, to respond to the incident, Ms McEntee said: "I suppose I am not aware in terms of the response or how that was activated, but I've every confidence that the gardaí will be able to deal with this incident."

The incident, captured on video and widely circulated on social media on Tuesday, shows how a fight broke out between two men before others became involved.

Initially, the two men are separated in attempts to break up the fight but they clash once again and begin fighting with men standing around them looking on.

One man is then attacked by a third man from behind and falls to the ground before he is kicked in the head and has his head repeatedly stamped on before he is dragged away from the scene of the fight by onlookers.

Gardaí confirmed they attended the incident at Dublin Airport and that a man was taken to Beaumont to be treated for injuries.

His condition is currently not known.

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