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Thursday 22 February 2018

Anti-prostitution protests being staged ahead of Coldplay concert

Coldplay's Chris Martin
Coldplay's Chris Martin

Cillian Sherlock

Residents of Dublin’s north inner-city plan to stage anti-prostitution protests ahead of tomorrow night’s Coldplay concert.

The group alleges that some businesses on Dorset Street are operating as fronts for brothels.

The protests started around five weeks ago with about 20-30 residents taking part, according to local Fianna Fáil representative Brian Mohan.

“A couple months ago the residents started raising the issue at local meetings and with the guards,” according to Mr Mohan.

The protestors have lined the street with signs reading “People not pimps” and “No to Red Light District”.

The group plan to continue their protests tomorrow when there is a large volume of people in the area ahead of the Coldplay concert at Croke Park.

“We’re not blocking traffic but we will be lining the streets with placards,” he said.

Mr Mohan said residents are working with gardai who are now investigating the alleged brothels, which has reportedly led to one shut down so far.

“It’s just a matter of looking at the buildings and watching who’s coming and going and what’s going on. Some residents actually Googled the number of one of the businesses and found all sorts of things,” he added.

He said the protestors have made An Garda Síochána aware of their plans and have been told they are not doing anything wrong.

The residents plan to stage further protests ahead of other major events, including a U2 concert also at Croke Park.

Independent TD for Dublin Central Maureen O’Sullivan said she attends the local meetings where the issue was raised.

“I think they are right to highlight it. I understand their frustration and I know how concerned they are,” Deputy O’Sullivan said.

Deputy O’Sullivan said that the problem for gardaí, who also attend the meetings, is that it is very difficult to prove that they are ‘masquerading’ as legitimate businesses to cover illicit activity.

She praised the local community for the “great work they do to make the area look well.

“They have had to deal with a lot of problems from antisocial behaviour to overcrowding,” she added.

The protests aim to raise awareness of the issue but may also serve to warn the alleged brothel operators of an investigation.

“If these businesses have nothing to hide, that’s fair and they have a right to say that,” she said, “but if they do have something to hide it might just make them aware that people are watching.”

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