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Gardaí threaten to close off entire Dublin streets after weekend of sun socialising

Gardaí are threatening to cordon off entire streets in the capital city after large crowds were seen socialising during the good weather last weekend, and Taoiseach Micheál Martin has warned that the government may reconsider opening the economy if individuals don’t follow lockdown measures.

According to the Taoiseach, the planned easing of lockdown for July – including permitting opening of pubs and indoor dining – “may have to be reviewed” if people do not comply with the State-imposed restrictions.

The comments come after videos on social media showed large gatherings of people enjoying the sunshine on South Great George’s Street, Exchequer Street and elsewhere.

According to Garda sources, large areas in Dublin city centre could be fenced off going forward to prevent such revelling in future. It was suggested that popular areas could be sealed off in the same way Temple Bar was on Saint Patrick’s Day, with manned Garda checkpoints and people ordered to move on if they attempt to loiter and socialise in such zones.

Over the weekend Gardaí attempted to enforce social distancing in cities by ordering individuals to move along from crowded streets. In Dublin, four individuals were arrested for “public order offences” after refusing to move when told to do so by police. Crowds were dispersed in Temple Bar, St. Stephen’s Green, South William Street and elsewhere in the capital.

Additionally, in Cork, 12 people were arrested for public order offences after the Gardaí attempted to break up gatherings at Kennedy Quay and Grand Parade.

Police ordered Galway City Council to seal off the popular area known as the Middle Arch after crowds gathered there, which the Council agreed to. The area has now been sealed for “a number of weeks,” the Council said in a statement.

Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan said he was “absolutely shocked” at the scenes he saw in Dublin, saying it was like a “major open air party”, and castigating revelers.

Responses on social media were harsh, with one individual juxtaposing photos from the weekend with photos from a recent pro-Palestine rally.
“Two photos in Dublin, taken [14] days apart,” the user said.

“One group celebrated, the other castigated. No consistency. It’s gone beyond a joke at this stage. Hypocrisy and glaring double standards everywhere.”

“This is the environment you’ve created Tony,” said another.

“The fact you’re surprised says it all really. You might know the science but you’ve absolutely no clue about the people.”

“You’re clearly an intelligent man,” one individual remarked.

“Use your influence to tell the powers that be that maybe closing down half the public spaces in the city is just going to result in people congregating in the smaller and smaller spaces available to them. It’s not hard.”

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