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Large crowds gathered on Dublin streets again; Gardai arrived to disperse the mob and arrested many

DUBLIN: The easing of COVID-19 restrictions in Ireland creates both hope and anxiety. Crowding in city centers and streets is a major concern as the country prepares for a massive reopening in the coming weeks. CMO Dr. Tony Holohan recently issued a stern warning against crowding, but nothing has changed. If this is the case at the start of the bank holiday, there is growing concern that things may spin out of control in the coming days.

Garda Public Order Units arrived on the scene of a large crowd gathered on South William Street in Dublin on Friday night and found it difficult to disperse the mob. The ‘operation’ was carried out by four units shortly after 9 pm.

In a statement, gardaí said: “An Garda Síochána in Dublin south city centre are currently dealing with large crowds including large numbers of juveniles. A number of public order incidents have occurred including missiles being thrown at gardaí.

“Uniformed gardaí supported by public order units have dispersed crowds in a number of locations and continue to patrol the city centre. A number of arrests have been made under the public order act.”

There have been several such incidents across the city this week. In St. Stephen’s Green, the Public Works Department erected a fence around a bandstand to control the crowd. However, on Thursday the fence opened and a crowd entered.

In a statement, An Garda Síochána said that: “Where crowds gather An Garda Síochána responsibility is preserving public order and preventing and investigating any criminal offence which occurs.

“An Garda Síochána continues to appeal to the public to avoid crowded areas and large gatherings; take personal responsibility to protect yourself and others, wear face coverings in open spaces, and maintain social distancing. The wearing of face masks outdoors and social distancing are public health guidelines and are not penal regulations.”

“The COVID-19 Pandemic remains a public health crisis and An Garda Síochána continues to appeal to all citizens to demonstrate personal and social responsibility to comply with Public Health Guidelines and Regulations, in order to continue to save lives.”

The Health and Safety Executive also said in a statement yesterday that it was preparing to ‘face the weekend’. In a Twitter message, Chief Executive Paul Reid assured the public that HSE is ready to face all challenges.

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