Gardai on full alert for Dail protest backlash

Cormac Byrne

GARDAI are prepared for violence at Leinster House this evening as militant republicans prepare to protest about the €6bn Budget cutbacks.

Members of the hardline 32 County Sovereignty Movement will meet outside the Shelbourne Hotel at 5.30pm today before marching to the Dail.

In preparation for any violence, gardai have been intensifying their training to deal with civil unrest over the past number of weeks.

In the past fortnight, the Public Order Unit has increased its training sessions at city locations following minor outbreaks of violence as a result of public unrest over the Government's handling of the banking crisis and other issues. Leave has also been cancelled.

Senior gardai fear today's Budget could spark mass demonstrations.


On November 5, riot squad gardai clashed with protesters involved in a student march. Sources say a hardcore group of about 50 protesters hijacked the demonstration.

Separately, fireworks were thrown at gardai following a recent march in the city.

It is understood that the 200-acre Belcamp College site, located off the Malahide Road, and Santry Garda Station, both in Dublin, have been used for intensive training for specialist officers in recent weeks.

The 32 County Sovereignty Movement, set to protest this evening, is viewed as the political wing of the Real IRA.

Hardline militant group Eirigi, also involved in the Budget protest, was responsible for the violence at the front of the Dail in May and was blamed for hijacking the student protest last month which saw three gardai injured.