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Monday 22 January 2018

Gardai turn up heat on ‘sun’ thugs

Niall O’Connor

A special garda team has been tasked with monitoring social networks after a number of outdoor “raves” were organised online.

Officers have been told to keep a constant watch on sites such as Facebook and Twitter this summer as senior gardai vow to crack down on “hot weather behaviour”.

The Herald has obtained details of three separate operations in the capital this summer during which gardai were forced to deal with drunkenness and public order offences.

In the last few weeks alone, three major “raves” have been foiled through the use of social networks.

These took place at Burrow Beach, in Sutton, Portmarnock Beach and the East Pier in Howth. Close to 2,000 young people were there over the three days – which sources say |created “massive potential” for outbreaks of violence and anti-social behaviour.

In all three incidents, a special garda operation was launched and arrests were made for public order offences.

A team of gardai based on the northside of the city have now been tasked with detecting outdoor raves online as part of the intelligence gathering process.

A detailed Garda plan involves:

* The setting up of “checkpoints” close to beach areas and other so-called “hotspots”.

* The collaboration between gardai and harbour masters in the Dublin region.

* Receiving specific information from Dublin Bus and the Luas about groups of young people carrying large amounts of alcohol.

* Requesting particularly shops and other outlets not to display alcohol if necessary.

* The deployment of the Air Support Unit and the Garda Dog Unit once a rave has been detected.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter said a policing plan known as Operation Irene will run until August 31.

“The operation incorporates a range of policing actions to be implemented at identified “hotspots”, which, with the advent of milder weather, longer evenings and school holidays, may experience an upsurge in anti-social behaviour associated with alcohol consumption,” he said.

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