Shelagh Fogarty 1pm - 4pm
Dublin: 14 arrests as police disperse large crowd drinking in street
5 June 2021, 11:02 | Updated: 5 June 2021, 11:05
Police in Dublin made 14 arrests after "large groups" gathered in parts of the centre of the city on Friday evening.
Fourteen people, including five youths, were arrested for public order offences, gardaí said.
Footage posted on social media appears to show people fighting in a street, before police showed up to disperse a large crowd who were seen fleeing with their drinks during a police "baton charge."
Officers said glass bottles and missiles were thrown at them. One garda suffered a leg injury which required hospital treatment. A patrol car was also damaged.
Police said six people were charged with public order offences and released.
A policing presence stayed in parts of the city centre until 3am.
Some accused officers of an overly heavy-handed approach.
One person wrote online: "Gardai in this country are about as useless as a glass hammer. Locked up for 15 months and the first bit of mingling with their friends and they’re getting smacked around with Batons , makes me embarrassed to be Irish."
Another posted: "Honestly Gardai do you not have a clue how to manage a city! I said it last week. Stop alcohol in SSG & limit the amount of people on South William Street. People with bags &boxes of glass walking in and getting drunk! Bashing young people isn’t the answer."
Gardaí said in a statement: “large crowds were present in Dublin City Centre with the vast majority of persons socialising responsibly and enjoying outdoor activity.
“A number of public order incidents occurred at various locations in the South City Centre, primarily involving large ‘organised groups’ congregating at a number of locations including South William Street, Saint Stephen’s Green Park and Templebar Square.
“A significant uniform Garda presence was on patrol and interacted with various groups. In particular while interacting with a specific group at South William street, glass bottles and other missile were thrown at Gardai."
They said they tried to engage with them with “no positive response” so took steps to “disperse” the group from South William Street.
Ireland's chief medical officer Tony Holohan has previously criticised people gathering in large numbers in Dublin city centre as being a coronavirus risk.
On May 29 he posted online: "Drove into Dublin City Centre to collect someone from work at 815 PM.
"Absolutely shocked at scenes in South Great George’s St, Exchequer St, South William St area. Enormous crowds- like a major open air party. This is what we do not need when we have made so much progress."
Dr Holohan posted this week: "Please avoid crowds, wear a mask where appropriate, wash your hands, maintain your social distance, socialiser outdoors and, most importantly, if you display any symptoms of COVID-19 or suspect you are a close contact of a confirmed case then attend a test centre for a free test."