Anticipation builds in Cork ahead of anti-lockdown protest

ireland
Anticipation Builds In Cork Ahead Of Anti-Lockdown Protest Anticipation Builds In Cork Ahead Of Anti-Lockdown Protest
Protesters confront gardaí during an anti-lockdown protest in Dublin last weekend. Photo: PA
Share this article

Businesses and gardaí are on standby in Cork city centre this morning, ahead of an anti-lockdown protest planned to take place this afternoon.

There is concern that the protest may see a repeat of the violence that broke out at a similar Dublin demonstration last weekend.

The Lord Mayor of Cork has called on the organisers of the event to cancel it, while the Foreign Affairs Minister has urged the public not to attend.

Kevin Herlihy is the owner of three Centra stores in Cork city centre and said he is ready to close their doors this afternoon.

“We’re on standby to clear the store here in Patrick’s Street where the protest is going to go ahead,” he said.

“I’ve hired in security for the store here and for the store on Grand Parade and we’re just going to monitor things.

Advertisement

“The gardaí are obviously going to be around as well in force, and they’re going to advise us if they think we need to close.”

Policing plan

An organiser of the protest, secretary of The People's Convention Diarmuid Ó Cadhla, has defended the group’s plans.

“We have utterly condemned any violent protest and we have ourselves taken measures to try and eliminate any such thing emerging in Cork,” he said.

“We are liaising with the gardaí on that level, so we expect a fully peaceful assembly.”

However, gardaí have warned some of the organisers of the event could face a criminal investigation if it goes ahead.

The Irish Examiner reports that the policing of today’s protest will be a “showcase” of how gardaí will deal with an expected mass protest in Dublin on St Patrick’s Day.

Garda sources said there will be enough gardaí on duty to “nip anything in the bud”, with it understood that the policing plan involves an arrest policy for people travelling further than five kilometres for the event who refuse to return home.

Sources stressed that gardaí do not want to deploy in full riot gear with shields and helmets due to the possibility that families will be attending the protest, but will be ready to do so if needed.

Superspreader

Advertisement

Various figures have issued calls for the protest not to take place.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, tweeted: “Please listen to Gardaí, Lord Mayor⁩ & public health advice.

“I know people are stressed by restrictions but mass public gatherings to protest are counterproductive & will be a spreader of #Covid.

“Please DONT turn up to anti-lockdown protest in Cork.”

Cork Lord Mayor, Joe Kavanagh, also expressed fears the demonstration could lead to a superspreader event and put gardaí at risk.

“They were out there and putting themselves in danger on the frontline last weekend in Dublin, and when I saw the incidents on various media platforms last weekend, I was really concerned and worried,” he said.

“When I heard that a similar event had been planned for Cork, obviously I’m doubly worried but hopefully there won’t be a replication of what happened in Dublin.”

Ireland
Dublin protest: Man suspected of launching firewor...
Read More

Independent Cork City Councillor, Ken O'Flynn, said the region had made great progress in reducing Covid-19 numbers.

“We’ve gotten our numbers way down, below Kerry now, they’re going down further,” he said.

“We now know that mass gatherings are not a good idea. We have protocols put in place, we have people telling us and educating us who are chief medical officers, we’re taking their advice.

“And by the idea of having a mass protests, having a large gathering of people in the city centre again – we’re putting all our citizens at risk.”

Read More

Want us to email you top stories each lunch time?

Download our Apps
© BreakingNews.ie 2021, developed by Square1 and powered by PublisherPlus.com