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booze sorry Angry residents 'under siege' by large crowds who gather to drink along Dublin's Grand Canal

"It's mostly teenage girls and it's not just number ones they are doing - not just in the lane but in our porchways"

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Gardai keep an eye on proceedings as crowds gather at the Grand Canal at Portobello, Dublin

Gardai keep an eye on proceedings as crowds gather at the Grand Canal at Portobello, Dublin

Gardai keep an eye on proceedings as crowds gather at the Grand Canal at Portobello, Dublin

ANGRY residents living near Dublin's Grand Canal have said they are under siege from hordes of drinkers boozing in the open air.

Gardaí were sent to parks, beaches, canals and river banks yesterday to break up crowds of frustrated lockdown sufferers out enjoying the brilliant Easter sunshine.

Among the areas they targeted was Portobello in south Dublin city, moving along gangs of people congregating on the banks of the Grand Canal.

"We don't want to be seen as killjoys or anything - but the law is the law - and you are only meant to be out exercising," one garda involved in the operation told us.

"If we allow one lot to stay it attracts more and more and it would get out of control. Sure, we'd love to be having a drink ourselves in this nice weather out here but it's not safe to do so in this pandemic.

"It's been busy all week, it's never not busy with everyone off. With the pubs closed they're coming to places like here. We only stop people drinking if they're taking the piss and we pour the alcohol out of the container."

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PHOTO SHOWS: A Garda asks people to move on, along the Grand Canal near Portobello, Dublin. SAT 3/4/21

PHOTO SHOWS: A Garda asks people to move on, along the Grand Canal near Portobello, Dublin. SAT 3/4/21

PHOTO SHOWS: A Garda asks people to move on, along the Grand Canal near Portobello, Dublin. SAT 3/4/21

A resident living in social housing in Portobello says she has suffered enough from the crowds of people flocking to the area in recent days.

"We counted and stopped over 120 people the other evening going to the toilet in the laneway outside our houses," fumed a mother of three, who did not want to giver her name.

"It's mostly teenage girls and it's not just number ones they are doing - not just in the lane but in our porchways.

"Some of our lads have started throwing water at them to stop them doing it and the amount of names they are calling us."

She added: "One woman we talked to came from Dún Laoghaire to drop her two daughters off to go drinking by the canal, that's about 20 miles away, and said she was coming back later to bring them home.

"But where do they expect to go to the toilet?

"It's the worst we've ever seen it and we've had enough.

"We're born and raised here and my husband and myself want to move out now."

While temperatures yesterday were cooler than earlier in the week most parts still enjoyed unusually good spring weather - Dublin, Wexford and Donegal were at 11C, Cork 13C, Limerick, Athlone and Galway at 14C while Kerry was highest at 15C.

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A Garda asks people to move on, along the Grand Canal at Portobello, Dublin. SAT 3/4/21

A Garda asks people to move on, along the Grand Canal at Portobello, Dublin. SAT 3/4/21

A Garda asks people to move on, along the Grand Canal at Portobello, Dublin. SAT 3/4/21

The weather is due to change today with arctic type conditions expected for the next few days.

Many of the sun lovers yesterday were dressed for the occasion, wearing shorts and shades.

Numerous people were drinking outdoors, although many hid their alcohol in disguised containers.

"Where else are we supposed to go?" demanded social science student Emily Dunne (22), from Crumlin. "There is really nothing for us to do.

"This is my first time to see my friend since Christmas. We have to enjoy it while we can, with the Easter weekend.

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Emily Dunne, at the Grand Canal at Portobello, Dublin.

Emily Dunne, at the Grand Canal at Portobello, Dublin.

Emily Dunne, at the Grand Canal at Portobello, Dublin.

"I'm in lockdown since I was 21, I'm 22 now going on 23. These are supposed to be our best years. I've only a few years left of my 20s, the best decade of your life, before you're stuck with kids at home."

Glam Emily, who was sipping a vodka cocktail from a can, was joined on the canal bank by three of her sunglass-wearing friends, also from the Crumlin area.

"Lockdown has been very hard, we haven't had an opportunity to drink like this all year. We'd normally meet up at least once a week.

"The guards haven't been too bad to us, but if we were out with our boyfriends we wouldn't still be sitting here, we'd definitely get a bit of hassle."

Further up the canal was Alan Skeffington (27), from Rathmines, and his bunch of male pals lying on the canal bank.

"Lockdown has been tough and you can't get up to much," explains Alan. "Most of us are living together so we're okay.

"We're taking advantage of the sun. It's a bit unfair of the guards to be moving the likes of us along as we're in the same bubble."

Three female business law students from Donegal and Fermanagh living in Dublin were also enjoying the sunshine.

"The guards have been okay with us," confessed one of the group, who did not want to be named. "Like everyone we are fed up of the lockdown and we are looking forward to restrictions being lifted so we can get home to see our families."

A couple sitting on a nearby bench, who were drinking coffee, moved when they were advised to by a guard.

"I didn't realise you couldn't sit here," admitted the woman. "But you have to abide by the guidelines, as it is a plague."

A woman carrying a sign stating 'The end of the world is' nigh passed up and down the canal.

"Judgement day is nearly upon us," she barked through a microphone attached to her mouth.

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