Digital Desk Staff
The behaviour of “a very small minority” should not take away from the “significance” of the reopening of outdoor hospitality, Higher Education Minister Simon Harris has said.
As the Irish Examiner reports, he said: “Today is a day so many thousands of businesses across Dublin City, Dublin county, and across the entire country have waited for and have worked for.
"The efforts that every single person in this country and benefits of the vaccine programme are now allowing us for the very first time this year to reopen restaurants, reopen pubs, reopen cinemas, people to visit each other's homes again, swimming pools, gyms, this is a very, very significant day."
Mr Harris said the challenge now is to ensure that we reopen and stay open.
He said the number of arrests over the weekend was not higher than any other normal bank holiday, but he said that “nobody can stand over brutal attacks on gardaí".
He said it was not right to conflate the reopening of pubs and restaurants and how local authorities have prepared for this with the anti-social behaviour seen over this weekend and last.
“What they need is exactly what they got.
“The gardaí taking proportionate action to make sure that people who attack members of An Garda Síochána, jump on a taxi, and try to assault members of the gardaí are dealt with,” said Mr Harris.
He said we cannot excuse people who engage in “thuggery” by claiming more bins or public toilets would solve the issue.
“If there is a small minority of people who remain intent on causing danger on our streets, they will have to be dealt with through our criminal justice system.”
It comes as street disorder continued on Sunday evening as gardaí arrested 14 people in Dublin city centre and eight people in Cork city.
In a statement, gardaí said large numbers of people gathered in the city centre with the vast majority socialising responsibly.
Based on public safety concerns and sporadic public order incidents gardaí on occasions engaged with crowds in Stephen’s Green, Temple Bar and South William Street.
“Gardaí encountered significant numbers of groups of youths (teenage and younger adults) who were loitering around the city centre, not involved in outdoor dining/ socialising,” the statement read.
In total, 14 people were arrested for public order offences in Dublin city centre, “including three juveniles who were released and referred for Juvenile Diversion Programme.
Four persons received an Adult Caution, and seven people were charged with Court proceedings to follow”.