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Facebook rave louts monitored by gardai

Gardai are routinely following social media sites such as Facebook in an effort to crack down on drunkenness and anti-social behaviour at events organised online.

There was heavy criticism of several incidents earlier this month when gangs of youths gathered in Howth and Portmarnock after a series of internet posts advertised a rave, which quickly descended into chaos and violence.

Several arrests were made as bottles were thrown and people were assaulted in incidents on beaches, buses and trains in the Dublin area.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter has now revealed that Operation Irene was put in place by Dublin gardai to patrol and control youth gatherings between June 1 and August 31.

Gardai in Blanchardstown have launched a number of successful operations in the Phoenix Park in recent days to combat public drinking and anti-social behaviour there.

A source explained: "There had been some incidents earlier this month in which foreign tourists were being targeted and phones were being robbed.

"Now a zero-tolerance approach is being used to tackle these issues and this will continue all summer.

"People who drink alcohol in public will have their drink confiscated and they will be fined.

"If they resist these measures, they will be arrested."

Mr Shatter said that gardai were prepared for anti-social behaviour at a seaside rave in Sutton earlier this month after collecting information from Facebook.

ACTION

The minister was responding to Dail questions from TDs Finian McGrath, Aodhan O Riordain and Sean Kenny, who wanted to know what action was taken in relation to the youth gatherings in Howth.

"Operation Irene incorporates a range of policing actions to be implemented at identified 'hot-spots', which with the advent of milder weather, longer evenings and school holidays, may experience an upsurge in anti-social behaviour associated with alcohol consumption," said Mr Shatter.

"This is a targeted operation to combat underage alcohol consumption and consumption of alcohol in public spaces throughout the Dublin metropolitan region."

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