Investigation | 

Gardaí probing alleged Covid rule breaches by Dublin Bay South candidate Justin Barrett

He was attending a speech and flag-raising event for the National Party when he came into contact with gardai.

National Party leader Justin Barrett. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Ali Bracken

Dublin Bay South by-election candidate Justin Barrett, the leader of the far-right National Party, is facing criminal charges for allegedly breaching Covid regulations and road traffic offences.

Gardaí in Longford are liaising with the DPP following incidents involving Mr Barrett on January 31 in Clonfin, the Sunday Independent understands.

He was attending a speech and flag-raising event for the National Party when he came into contact with gardai. He was spoken to for alleged Covid breaches as he was outside his permitted 5km radius.

At the same gathering, gardaí also noted the red Kia car Mr Barrett was driving had not been taxed since November 2019. An issue also arose as to whether it was registered to him, and the vehicle was seized .

A source confirmed Mr Barrett is under garda investigation .

When contacted for comment by the Sunday Independent, he responded by email, writing: “Dear Ali, You are the lying press. Regards, Justin Barrett.”

The Government confirmed last week that July 8 will be the polling day for the hotly-contested Dublin Bay South by-election.

Twelve candidates are running for the seat, including Ivana Bacik (Labour), Lynn Boylan (Sinn Féin), James Geoghan (Fine Gael), Deirdre Conroy (Fianna Fáil) and Sarah Durcan (Social Democrats).

It emerged on Friday that the crowdfunding website GoFundMe removed the National Party from its platform for violating its terms of service.

The party was fundraising for Mr Barrett to stand.

It is among several parties that have made use of online fundraising tools, either through third party websites such as GoFundMe or their own platforms to help cover the costs of running election campaigns.

It is believed Mr Barrett’s campaign was taken down under GoFundMe’s rules on prohibited content.

Individuals or organisations cannot use the site for content or behaviour GoFundMe deems to be an abuse of power or in support of hate, violence, harassment, bullying, discrimination, terrorism or intolerance of any kind.

The National Party has been an outspoken critic of government lockdowns rolled out over the past 18 months.

Following an anti-lockdown protest in Dublin last February, which was marred by violent scenes, Mr Barrett appeared in a YouTube video flanked by a photo of Patrick Pearse and the Tricolour.

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