'Let's not demonise young people': Management of weekend crowds slammed

'Let's Not Demonise Young People': Management Of Weekend Crowds Slammed
Weekend revellers in south William street, Dublin, © PA Wire/PA Images
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By James Ward, PA

The handling of weekend crowds by Dublin City Council has been slammed as mismanagement by a local city councillor.

Independent councillor Mannix Flynn defended those who took part, while a senior HSE official meanwhile said the scenes of large crowds gathering over the weekend looked like “V-Day celebrations”.


HSE chief clinical officer Dr Colm Henry warned the gatherings could “exploit our weakest position” with large groups of unvaccinated people coming together.

That’s the big kind of factor here, alcohol

Cllr Flynn separately cautioned against the demonisation of younger people congregating.

“The event that took place was mismanaged, you have a pedestrian zone in Dublin City, created by Dublin City Council, where they created these pedestrian zones and then walked away and didn’t manage them,” he said.


“I mean this is a normal Saturday trading day and droves of young people and all sorts of people moved into this area, sat down and had picnics and very quickly became, I suppose besodden with alcohol.

“That’s the big kind of factor here, alcohol. And then it got more and more and more boisterous.

“This was being monitored all day by An Garda Síochána, and then late into the evening when it became too much to manage they moved in the public order unit, and moved people on.

“Let’s not demonise the young people, and let’s manage this properly.”


He added: “I think the issue is clear and very simple. There is no management. Dublin City Council put out a tweet saying that they can’t police the city.

“We’re not asking them to police the city. We’re asking them to manage the city before the police come in and have to do their job and police it. Policing comes after when there’s no management.”

'Longer war'

At the weekend chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan blasted the “enormous crowds” who gathered in parts of Dublin, saying it was what the country “does not need” after making so much progress pushing down cases of Covid-19.

On Monday, Dr Henry joined in the condemnation.


He said: “Younger people for the most part did their best to protect their older citizens. A huge acknowledgement is required by all of us to them… they’ve suffered from isolation and lost opportunities in life.

“But some of the scenes looked like V-Day, as if the virus had surrendered. This virus doesn’t surrender.”

“It exploits our weakest position – and our weakest position of course is those who are unvaccinated. It exploits congested gatherings, and certainly situations where there is alcohol,” he told Newstalk Breakfast.

“This is not V-Day… it’s a longer war.”


Dublin City Council’s director of city recovery Coilin O’Reilly defended the council’s role in managing the city.

He told RTÉ’s Today With Claire Byrne: “There’s two very separate issues. You know we have toilets and bins on one point, and we also have public health guidelines.

“We feel if we provide toilets and bins at these locations, it’ll only drive more footfall and create more of an issue from a public health perspective.”

He added: “If we supply more toilets and bins does that bring more people in? Do we end up with bigger public health issues? It’s a very difficult situation to manage.”

Gardai enforce coronavirus restrictions and move people on from St Stephen’s Green, Dublin
Gardaí enforce coronavirus restrictions and move people on from St Stephen’s Green, Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

Asked if allowing parts of the city to open later could help ease pressure in other areas, he said: “I think the primary problem is it’s a public health issue from a mass gathering perspective.

“So, putting everybody into St Stephen’s Green or Merrion Square doesn’t solve the public health issue.”

Dublin City Council met on Monday morning with local businesses, stakeholders and gardaí to discuss measures that could improve the situation.

On Sunday, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said he shared the concerns voiced by the chief medical officer.

“Those scenes are not the scenes we want to see,” he told RTÉ radio’s This Week programme.

Coronavirus regulations remain in place across Ireland, however the country is looking forward to imminent relaxations.

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