'conflict' | 

Gardai face ‘near anarchy’ as masked mobs join protests against asylum seekers

‘Wednesday evening saw a march of 200 plus youths with identities concealed, shouting and abusing gardai with quotes like ‘You were warned!’

Protests in Finglas during the week targetted local TD, Dessie Ellis's office

Sunday World

Garda representatives have said Finglas was thrown into a state of “near anarchy” this week from anti-social elements latching onto protests about asylum seekers.

Footage widely shared on social media this week show groups of youths and adults marching through Finglas chanting “out, out, out” and gathering outside constituency offices of local TDs Dessie Ellis and Roisin Shortall.

Posts were shared by protestors talking about using violence. “If there’s fights between the Irish and migrants there is no remorse, fight until you cant fight anymore,” reads one.

Detective Garda Mark Ferris, Garda Representative Association CEC for the DMR West area, said the mob also threatened gardai during the protests.

“The last two nights have seen the sub-district of Finglas thrown into state of near anarchy as anti-social elements have latched on to a growing protest movement concerned about State policy on asylum-seekers,” he said.

“Wednesday evening saw a march of 200 plus youths with identities concealed, shouting and abusing gardai with quotes like ‘You were warned!’.

The following night a group gathered outside a meeting at a council office chanting more threats.

“This footage is now circulating freely on social media platforms. Members I have spoken to told me these youths were again threatening assembled officers with quotes such as: ‘We are going to take the next step; you are the f**king enemy!’

“Adding a politically-radicalised segment of our society's youth into a combustible situation of disadvantaged suburbs where law and order is already widely flouted is a recipe for civil unrest.”

He said gardai were now “effectively on the front line of what could almost be classed as an emerging conflict”.

“A task force with sweeping remit is now required to match resources to demand so we can meet the challenges ahead.”

Speaking earlier this week Sinn Fein TD Dessie Ellis said he would not be intimidated by such marches but expressed fears that “ordinary” people were being caught up in them.

“There was a crowd there and they were doing all sorts of chanting, this, that, the other,” he said.

“They stopped outside my office but something like that wouldn’t worry me, I’m well used to it.

“I wasn’t in the office at the time but I was aware that this was taking place. I think that there are people now who are just stirring things up and I think it’s going to continue for a while.

“A lot of this is around the myths that are being thrown around by various groups and are sucking in ordinary people,” he added. “My big worry is that people are not thinking it through.”

He said nobody should protest outside refugee centres or hotels where people are seeking asylum.

“That is intimidation,” he said. “If people want to protest over Government policy, then they can go into town and protest there. They are entitled to do that.

“But these protests are not representative of the people of Finglas. People here are very inclusive and welcoming. This is a very small minority, but as I said, there are a lot of ordinary individuals being sucked into this.”

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