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Anti-social behaviour Lord Mayor Hazel Chu condemns 'appalling and depressing' Dublin scenes as 14 arrested

Glass bottles and missiles’ thrown at gardaí as large groups congregated in city centre on Friday night

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South William Street in Dublin, Friday June 4 2021 PIC Gerry Mooney

South William Street in Dublin, Friday June 4 2021 PIC Gerry Mooney

South William Street in Dublin, Friday June 4 2021 PIC Gerry Mooney

Dublin’s Lord Mayor Hazel Chu has described the “pockets” of anti-social behaviour in Dublin on Friday night as “appalling”, obnoxious” and “depressing”.

Speaking to Independent.ie this weekend Ms Chu said she walked through the city centre to experience the situation first-hand.

“When I wandered around I saw the majority of people were fine- it was one or two bunches of people [acting out] and there was one bunch literally just knocking the crap out of each other.”

She stressed that all young people are not to blame for the behaviour of an “very active” minority.

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South William Street in Dublin, Friday June 4 2021 PIC Gerry Mooney

South William Street in Dublin, Friday June 4 2021 PIC Gerry Mooney

South William Street in Dublin, Friday June 4 2021 PIC Gerry Mooney

“We need to differentiate between the two groups and recognise that most young people were out socialising and having a good time and were very safe doing so.”

But she said “there was also the drunken ‘I don’t give a crap about anyone else, I’m just going to ruin it for everyone’ minority and it’s a very active group.”

Her comments come after 14 people, including five juveniles, were arrested and a garda received hospital treatment after violence broke out in Dublin's city centre.

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South William Street in Dublin, Friday June 4 2021 PIC Gerry Mooney

South William Street in Dublin, Friday June 4 2021 PIC Gerry Mooney

South William Street in Dublin, Friday June 4 2021 PIC Gerry Mooney

 

The incidents centred around South William Street, Saint Stephen’s Green Park and Temple Bar Square.

While interacting with one group on South William Street, gardaí say they came under attack from “glass bottles and other missiles”.

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A large number of gardaí were on duty and videos, circulating on social media, show officers, with batons drawn, advancing up South William Street.

On whether the Gardai were heavy handed in their approach Ms Chu said: “The control that the guards had in relation to the batons- I still haven’t found someone to tell me whether it was excessive or not - but I do know that when you are having bottles and missiles thrown at you, then that’s an issue.”

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South William Street in Dublin, Friday June 4 2021 PIC Gerry Mooney

South William Street in Dublin, Friday June 4 2021 PIC Gerry Mooney

South William Street in Dublin, Friday June 4 2021 PIC Gerry Mooney

 

Chu also considered whether social media may be exacerbating the problem: “It may be the case where videos of people being able to climb onto the band stand in St Stephen’s Green, for example, to show how cool it is that [we need to] keep that in check.

“People see that and they are either absolutely appalled or they say ‘oh that’s cool I’ll go and join that’.

"So there is no positive out of sharing these videos but then you don’t want to curb people’s freedoms either.

“With people filming these situations, I don’t know [if the people taking part in it want] to gain notoriety [online] but it’s not something we want to encourage.”

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Hazel Chu

Hazel Chu

Hazel Chu

On preventing such scenes in the future she said: “What I have been proposing to Dublin City Council (DCC) is that- if we are going to pedestrianize places- we need to ensure it is spread across several different public realms in the city so big crowds don’t gather in one location.”

Speaking earlier, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly condemned the scenes of "thuggish behaviour" and said they were “completely unacceptable”.

After receiving his first dose of a Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine at the vaccination centre in Greystones, he told reporters the scenes “in no way represents our country”.

“The reality is that a lot of people are going to be out and about this Bank Holiday weekend and they’re right to be. They’re going to be meeting friends, having some food or a drink and that’s all good.

“The vast majority of people are going to do it in a way that keeps each other safe. They’re going to mind each other. That’s what we’re seeing all over the country.

“What we saw last night doesn’t represent anything that we should be paying attention to, and I want to thank the Gardaí for what they’re doing and what they did.”
 

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