Seven people including three well known dissident Republicans were arrested in a huge garda operation this morning targeting major violent disorder which occurred outside the Dail during protests last month.
The arrests were made at a number of locations across the capital including Crumlin and Nutgrove on the southside during 5am raids which involved armed members of the Special Detective Unit as well as uniformed gardai.
All arrested were males and include two underage teenagers who are not linked to IRA activity.
The arrests followed a major investigation at Pearse Street Garda Station following the events at Molesworth Street on the afternoon of September 18th last.
Sources have revealed that this led senior officers under the control of Assistant Commissioner John Twomey to set up an incident room in which hundreds of hours of CCTV footage were viewed and culprits involved in alleged violent disorder identified.
A senior source explained: “Violent disorder is a very serious offence which carries a maximum sentence of up to ten years in jail.
“Gardai feel that a strong message must be sent out to people engaged in the type of behaviour that took place last month especially with more protests planned at that location on Tuesday at Budget Day.
“Of course people have a right to peaceful protest but some of what happened last month was completely unacceptable and these individuals may well pay the price with a hefty jail sentence.”
Two of the arrested men are brothers from the Nutgrove area of south Dublin who had close links to the IRA faction which was led by slain Real IRA leader Alan Ryan.
Another is a well known dissident from the Crumlin area of the capital.
Sources say that all of those arrested including the two children were acting as “professional rioters” at the large scale protest.
“Most of them even had a special solution in their possession to clean their eyes from pepper spray - they knew what they were at.
“Some of these individuals were involved in attacking the barriers which had been in place outside the Dail - they came prepared and they displayed an unacceptable level of violence,” the source explained.
There was commuter chaos on the day as Dublin came to a standstill over the protests.
While the majority of people engaged in a peaceful protest, a cohort of individuals taunted officers, blocked traffic and attempted to break down barricades outside Leinster House.
Angry protests outside the Dail saw gardai use pepper spray against a small number who attempted to bypass a cordon on the junction of Kildare Street and Molesworth Street.
There were clashes at about 4.30pm on the day, when a number of protesters tried to break through the garda barrier.
A smaller group left the Dail to march down O'Connell Street, where they came to a halt at the bridge shortly before 5.30pm. They were then joined by more until about 300 people were at the scene.
The protest finally moved up to the Dail again, with some protesters claiming that they had been threatened with the riot squad if they did not move.
This morning's arrests bring to ten the amount of people arrested in relation to the protests.
A 55-year-old woman was one of three people previously arrested and she is due to appear in court at a later date. Two men arrested, aged 23 and 43, were also released without charge after being arrested in the aftermath of the protests.
By Ken Foy, Crime correspondent