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Deep alarm Mary Lou McDonald says outdoor summer 'cannot mean baton charges on our streets'

'We need proper joined up planning to facilitate safe social enjoyment and safety for gardai'

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South William Street on Friday night

South William Street on Friday night

South William Street on Friday night

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald has said she has spoken to the Garda Commissioner to “raise my deep alarm at scenes” in Dublin City centre last night. 

A total of 14 people, including five juveniles, were arrested and a garda received hospital treatment after violence broke out in areas around South William Street, Saint Stephen’s Green Park and Temple Bar Square.

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

However, Ms McDonald said an outdoor summer “cannot mean baton charges on our streets”.

She added in the Facebook post: “We need proper joined up planning to facilitate safe social enjoyment and safety for Gardai. All agencies must engage now.”

Earlier, Dublin’s Lord Mayor Hazel Chu 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.

“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.”

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In one incident, gardaí say they came under attack from “glass bottles and other missiles” while interacting with a group on 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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