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lockdown breach Beauty salon owner due to appear in court after reopening despite garda closure request

It comes as Gardaí say they are also investigating a demonstration that was held in Balbriggan this morning where seven people were arrested.

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Christine McTiernan

Christine McTiernan

Christine McTiernan

The owner of a north Dublin salon is due to appear in court this afternoon after reopening to customers for the second day in a row despite Level 5 restrictions.

It comes as Gardaí say they are also investigating a demonstration that was held in Balbriggan this morning where four men and three women were arrested in relation to the protest and alleged breaches of the Health Act.

Six of these arrests were dealt with by way of Fixed Penalty Notice.

Another person arrested, a man aged in his 50s, has been charged in relation to this incident.

He is due to appear before the Swords District court later this afternoon.

"An Garda Síochána has no role in permitting or authorising protest marches or gatherings, there is no permit / authorisation required for such events. A decision as to whether any protest takes place rests solely with organisers," a garda spokesperson said.

"An Garda Síochána encourages organisations / individuals organising such events to liaise with An Garda Síochána in advance to assist in the safe and peacefully organisation of the event. Where possible An Garda Síochána will advise identified organisers of such events as to their responsibilities and potential consequences.

"In respect of regulations, which are declared to be Penal Regulations under the Health Act 1947 as amended, An Garda Síochána continue to adopt the approach of the Four Es which see Gardaí engage, explain, encourage, and as a last resort, enforce."

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Gardai outside C&N Beauty Room, Balbriggan yesterday

Gardai outside C&N Beauty Room, Balbriggan yesterday

Gardai outside C&N Beauty Room, Balbriggan yesterday

Christine McTiernan's daughter, Nicole Balch, told of how around 20 gardai arrived at the salon to arrest her mother this morning.

Nicole said she was outside the C&N Beauty Rooms in Balbriggan when the gardai arrived.

“She got arrested just before 12,” Nicole said.

“There must have been 19 guards who came down to arrest her. And that’s not including the other (non-uniform gardai) and the ERU.

“There were three riot vans, four garda cars and three unmarked garda cars.

“It’s so unnecessary for just one person. They brought my mum out of the salon and bought her into one of the vehicles.

“They didn't handcuff her, she just locked up and off they went. They brought her to Balbriggan Garda station and I haven’t heard anything since.”

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Christine McTiernan

Christine McTiernan

Christine McTiernan

Nicole had driven past the salon before her mum arrived and saw a “chaotic” scene.

“Before my mum had arrived I drove down and the scene outside the salon was chaotic."

Nicole has set up a go find me page in case her mum gets a fine.

“We don’t know how much that fine could be," added Nicole.

Even though Christine McTiernan was asked by Gardai to shut her doors shortly after opening yesterday, she told the Sunday World: “I’m going to go down and look after my customers”.

“The Gardai asked me to close yesterday,” she said.

“I told them that I had to reopen for my business, for myself and for my clients. They were very respectful.”

Level Five restrictions say all non-essential retail and services including hairdressers, beauticians, and barbers must remain closed.

However, Christine, who has been running the popular salon in the seaside town for the last six years, insists she wasn’t taking a stand or trying to making a wider point about the current Level 5 restrictions.

Instead, she said she was doing it for herself, so she could pay her bills and for her clients who could benefit from some sense of normality, “even if it was for just for one hour”.

“I have bills, rent, loans, you know, everything,” she said. “None of the bills for the salon are being covered.

“There has been no support from the government since they closed us down, so how do they expect us to survive?

"What do they think we're actually paying our bills with, fresh air? They must know people (like small businesses) are sinking further into debt and what are they doing to help us? Absolutely nothing.”

Christine said the support she had received from locals and the wider community had been “shocking”.

“The amount of support has been unbelievable, from everyone,” she said. “I think it's just a case where everybody is sick of it now at this stage.

“There are going to be people who don’t support you but the majority of the people have been very supportive, I’d say 90 per cent.

"I’ve got calls and texts from all over, even from as far away as Australia and the support is unreal, it really is.

“This was a small post I put on my own page letting my clients know I was open because I needed to pay the bills.

"You’re always going to get people won’t agree with you and that’s just a part of life.

"But the bills keep coming so there is nothing I can do about that.

“I’m already thousands in debt and by the time we do reopen we’ll be even further in debt. But I’m not going to lose the business I’ve spent six years building up.”

Christine insisted her salon was “100 per cent safe”.

“We followed all the guidelines from the HSE, to a tee. The chance of getting (the virus) here is very, very slim. We've never had a case here.

“I have to earn a living,” she added. “And we’ve no idea how long this is going to go on for. I have employees here and they need to work too.

"And not only that, it’s for my own mental health.

“I need to work. We’ve all been locked up in a house for too long. I do understand that there is a virus there, and it’s not a case that I don’t care about it, of course I do.

“My heart goes out to the people who have lost families and loved ones but if there is a safe way of doing this then let the (small business) owners do it.

"The HSE told us what to put in place and I followed these guidelines completely. You could not be many more sterilized than in here.”

Christine is reopening today even though she “doesn’t know what will happen”. Her daughter has set up a GoFundMe page too, to help raise funds “to cover anything that crops up, legal-wise”.

“The gardai were very nice yesterday. We’re going to go ahead and reopen and see what happens.

“I’ve got clients booked in so I’m going to go down and look after my customers because they need it as much as I do, for their own mental health, even if it’s just for one hour.

“The few who came yesterday told me, ‘you don’t know how much this means to me’.”



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