Gardaí have issued a statement addressing the partial closure of the Phoenix Park for a time on Saturday afternoon (2 May).
The park in central Dublin was closed to the public shortly before 2pm, with some people asked to leave the park, as a gathering of people attempted to stage a protest beginning at the Parkgate St. entrance. The protest was organised in opposition to Ireland’s Covid-19 restrictions and emergency laws.
In the statement, Gardaí said that they “interacted with a number of persons, some of whom terminated their journeys and left the area.”
They also noted that “the names and addresses of other persons were recorded in accordance with the Health Act 1947.” No arrests were made.
The statement further clarified that enforcement of these laws remains a last resort: “In supporting the COVID-19 public health guidelines and regulations, An Garda Síochána has adopted a graduated policing response based on its tradition of policing by consent. This has seen Garda members engage, educate, encourage and, as a last resort, enforce.”
“Section 31(a) of the Health Act 1947 provides for a graduated policing response from a citizen complying with the regulations, to demanding a name and address, to arrest without warrant.
“A Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) has been appointed to oversee the investigation of any breaches of the Health Act 1947 (Section 31A-Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) Regulations on this occasion, and previous occasions, and an investigation file will be submitted to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.”