Gardaí expect to make several arrests in relation to the violent scenes on Dublin’s Grafton Street on Saturday. According to reports, a group of males from the Monkstown/Dún Laoghaire area are said to have launched fireworks directly at gardaí.
The group are said to have a history of engaging in anti-social behaviour, with one source saying they “have terrorised Monkstown Farm for years”. Gardaí not only have footage of the group at the scene, they also have “clear footage” of them preparing the firework for launch.
One member, who fired the rocket upon gardaí, has been identified as a 30 year-old male from South Dublin. His accomplice, 27 year-old male from South Dublin, can be seen on video attempting to kick officers and is said to have several previous convictions.
Thirteen people were charged at Dublin District Court on public order offences related to the incident on Grafton Street. However, none of those charged are understood to have been involved in the use of fireworks on Gardaí.
Some members of the Gardaí suffered “bumps and bruises” during the violence that occurred on Saturday. However, some injuries were a lot worse with one garda suffering a perforated eardrum, while another is due to undergo surgery on a fractured ankle. Sources said many were left shaken by the incident after projectiles had been fired and further scuffling with members of the crowd.
A source told the Irish Times they believed at one stage they were being fired upon with live weapons, rather than fireworks. Glass bottles, rocks and even barriers had been launched at members of the Gardaí.
According to reports, the anti-lockdown protest had been organised online by a group named RiseUp Éireann. The group used their social media platforms to instruct followers to gather at St Stephen’s Green for a Unite the Tribes event. Gardaí were aware of the protest and instructed the Office of Public Works to close nearby parks.
What began as a “peaceful protest”, violence ensued as several groups began to abuse, and instigate aggression towards gardaí. According to the report, there are plans for at least two more anti-lockdown protests that Garda intelligence is aware of. One has been planned for Cork, while another is set to take place in the capital on St Patrick’s Day.