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21 arrests during mostly peaceful anti-lockdown protests

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A Garda ring of steel surrounds RTE in Donnybrook ahead of the expected St Patricks Day protests. Photo by Steve Humphreys 17th March 2021

A Garda ring of steel surrounds RTE in Donnybrook ahead of the expected St Patricks Day protests. Photo by Steve Humphreys 17th March 2021

A Garda ring of steel surrounds RTE in Donnybrook ahead of the expected St Patricks Day protests. Photo by Steve Humphreys 17th March 2021

Gardai have confirmed that a total of 21 people were arrested in relation to separate anti-lockdown protests in Dublin.

A statement from An Garda Síochána outlined that 17 men and four women were arrested and 14 of these appeared before a sitting of Dublin District Court on Wednesday evening at the Criminal Courts of Justice. Gardaí said that seven were charged with offences and released on station bail.

Speaking earlier in the day, Deputy Commissioner, Policing and Security, Anne Marie McMahon said: "This has not been a normal St Patrick’s Day. I acknowledge the huge level of compliance and social responsibility demonstrated today. I appeal to the public to continue this effort into this evening, please do not engage in house gatherings or parties or congregate in public spaces and amenities.”

An Garda Síochána maintained a high visibility throughout the day, patrolling at public amenities, conducting checkpoints focused on non-essential travel and people exercising outside 5km of their home.

Around 200 people gathered at Herbert Park, RTE campus and The Spire, O’Connell Street as part of the anti-lockdown protest in the afternoon.

There was a significant garda presence at both events – including a garda helicopter circling over Herbert Park.

Gardaí created a ‘ring of steel’ barrier around the confines of RTÉ campus in Donnybrook where the protesters were expected to converge later on in the afternoon.

The events passed of peacefully and were attended by families with young children and there was singing from the bandstand at Herbert Park.

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Gardaí blocked off the Donnybrook Road at the Dublin Bus Depot leading up to RTÉ at Montrose since late morning, and traffic was diverted away from the area.

Other access roads were also blocked, and there was a very visible presence of gardaí at the entrance gates to the national broadcaster.

Crowd control barriers were erected at the main entrance on the dual carriageway, so anybody accessing RTÉ had to use the old entrance on Nutley Lane, which was also being heavily policed.

At Herbert Park, gardaí kept a low-key presence of foot patrols.

The garda helicopter looped between Ballsbridge and Donnybrook, assessing the situation from the air.

In the city gardaí had a very visible presence on the street, and at train stations.

The warm spring weather brought people out to Herbert Park but they sat on the grass and on benches in small family groups enjoying the sunshine.

At around 2pm, people started to gather at RTE and Herbert Park. A man sang from the bandstand in Herbert Park while some placard holders and flag wavers mingled with the growing crowd.

At RTÉ, a number of people stood on the footbridge over the dual carriageway with anti-Covid restriction and anti vaccine placards.

The event in Herbert Park was billed as ‘Le Cheile Day’ and a gathering for mental health.

Meanwhile gardaí responded to hundreds of phone calls yesterday in relation to house parties and to police social distancing in parks and other public spaces.

A Garda spokesman said it had been a “very busy evening”.

However he added that there had not been any serious incidents and most people had followed garda instructions to stop their activities and follow public health guidelines.

After calls to gardaí, around 600 people were instructed to leave a park in Glasnevin, north Dublin, at around 9pm.


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