| 8.9°C Dublin

major operation ‘Robust’ policing plan in place for anti-lockdown protest as gardaí fear it may be ‘hijacked’

A policing plan was drawn up yesterday afternoon when senior gardaí met to discuss the weekend’s protests after the successful operation on St Patrick’s Day in which there were no violent incidents.

Close

A protester outside RTÉ headquarters in Dublin is outnumbered by gardaí on Wednesday. Photo: Damian Storan/ PA

A protester outside RTÉ headquarters in Dublin is outnumbered by gardaí on Wednesday. Photo: Damian Storan/ PA

A protester outside RTÉ headquarters in Dublin is outnumbered by gardaí on Wednesday. Photo: Damian Storan/ PA

A “robust” policing plan is in place for a planned anti-lockdown protest tomorrow, with gardaí worried that extremist elements may attempt to hijack the demonstration.

A policing plan was drawn up yesterday afternoon when senior gardaí met to discuss the weekend’s protests after the successful operation on St Patrick’s Day in which there were no violent incidents.

Officers are due to meet again today to analyse any fresh intelligence about what role extreme right-wing or left-wing protesters may be planning.

Three chief superintendents under the command of Assistant Commissioner Anne Marie Cagney will again monitor the protest, with one full public order unit being deployed and others on standby.

“From a policing point of view, St Patrick’s Day was a success story – there were multiple different protests but they all passed off peacefully,” a senior source said.

The arrest figure on Wednesday was considerably less than on a St Patrick’s Day before the pandemic began.

Twenty-one people – 17 males and four females – were arrested in connection with public order offences and breaches of Covid-19 legislation in Dublin. Fourteen of these have appeared before a special district court sitting.

“Yes, St Patrick’s Day was a success but gardaí have not switched off for Saturday because of that,” a senior source said yesterday. “There is only one planned protest at the weekend while there was over a half-dozen separate ones on Wednesday.

“The big danger is that extremist elements may have infiltrated the demonstration or may attempt to hijack it.

“Of course there is always the worry that criminal elements from the inner city and beyond may just get involved in violence for the sake of it as we have seen before.

“So, therefore, a robust policing plan will be in place and gardaí are satisfied that adequate resources are in place to deal with whatever may happen,” the source added.

There will be numerous garda checkpoints in suburbs on roads in both the northside and southside of Dublin tomorrow. People will be asked for their reason for travelling, and face being turned back if they do not have an essential reason for going into the city centre.

Like on Wednesday, officers will be present at train stations, bus stops and Luas and DART stops all across the capital to ensure that people are complying with Covid-19 regulations and not making what are deemed to be unessential journeys into the city centre.

Meanwhile, gardaí representatives met Justice Minister Helen McEntee over the issue of vaccinations.

“The minister was receptive to our position that the current place of gardaí in the queue for vaccination fails to reflect either the risk of infection faced by members or the key role they play trying to suppress the virus,” said Garda Representative Association president Frank Thornton.

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

Online Editors


Top Videos





Privacy