Gardaí have identified a group who launched fireworks at officers during violent scenes on Dublin’s Grafton Street on Saturday and expect to make arrests shortly.
The group comprises males from the Monkstown/Dún Laoghaire area who have a history of engaging in anti-social behaviour.
“They are a bunch of thugs who have terrorised Monkstown Farm for years. They are organised in a sense that they all work together and are into all sorts of stuff. But mainly just thugs,” a source told The Irish Times.
Gardaí have clear footage and images of the group, including of them preparing the firework to be fired during a mid-afternoon stand-off between gardaí and anti-lockdown protesters.
One of the group’s members, a 30-year-old from south Dublin, then brings it up to the line of gardaí and fires it towards an officer. Gardaí have identified this man and some of his accomplices and expect to make arrests soon.
Thirteen people were charged with public order offences related to the Grafton Street incident on Saturday before a special sitting of Dublin District Court. None of those charged are understood to have been involved in the firework incident.
Three gardaí suffered injuries during the violence, with one due to undergo surgery on a fractured ankle. Another garda suffered a perforated eardrum.
The anti-lockdown protest was organised online by a group called RiseUp Éireann.
Most of the crowd was peaceful but several groups began to abuse gardaí and instigate violence. These included members of the far-right National Party, the Irish branch of the Proud Boys and former members of Generation Identity.
RiseUp Éireann declared the event an success. “Ireland rose up!” it posted. “The greatest awakening is here.”
Garda intelligence is currently aware of plans for at least two more anti-lockdown protests deemed to have potential to turn violent, including one in Cork and one on St Patrick’s Day in Dublin.