A CORK TD has criticised the comments made by the Garda Commissioner on the protests in Dublin on Saturday.
Yesterday, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris rowed back on remarks he made about groups involved in the protests.
He had said the demonstrators included people from different types of factions, including the far left.
Mr Harris had said it was a collaboration of groups made up of anti-lockdown protesters, as well as those against vaccines and face masks, and those from the far right.
However, in a statement issued yesterday, he said he wanted to clarify his remarks and that following further investigation, there was “no corroborated evidence of extreme left factions being involved”.
“The vast majority of those who took part belong to a number of factions including anti-vaccine, anti-mask, and anti-lockdown protesters, far-right groups, and those intent on trouble and disorder,” said Mr Harris.
Solidarity TD Mick Barry said he was “angry” at the original comment made by the commissioner. He added that the agenda of the protest was “diametrically opposed to the agenda of the left”.
Mr Barry said that the statement provided by the commissioner was more of a retraction than a clarification and called for it to receive the same degree of coverage as the original “misinformation”.
The Cork North Central TD said he is “completely opposed” to the protest and the agenda being pursued by its organiser.
Speaking on RTÉ’s The Week In Politics, Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said the actions of protesters in Dublin city centre on Saturday were not “legitimate protest”.
“It was people who were intent on thuggery and violence and intimidation of the guards and of the State,” he said.
“When somebody is firing a rocket or a firework from a few meters away from the guards, directly at them, that is not acceptable protest and I hope that the courts will deal with it as such.”
Twenty-three people were arrested after hundreds of protesters took part in the anti-lockdown demonstration.
Three officers were injured during the protest, with one requiring hospital treatment. Some 13 people appeared before a special sitting of the Dublin District Court on Saturday night.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the protests “posed an unacceptable risk to both the public and gardaí”, and described the behaviour as “thuggish”.