Over 100 arrests mar national day of revelry

by Alen McMahon

An estimated 500,000 people celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in the city, keeping gardai busy with a number of arrests and incidents reported.
Preliminary reports for the day saw 73 arrests made in the city centre up to 7pm on March 17. A further 33 arrests for the day were made in the north central area of the city, while 40 were made in the southside of the area.
The number of incidents reported to gardai, including public disorder, were in around the 200 mark.
There were 450-500 Gardai dispatched throughout the day and night to handle the large crowds.
According to a Garda source, that number is about average for St Patrick’s Day celebrations.
“The way we police those events is a totally different focus. While we did have a certain public disorder element during the day, predominately the policing of St Patrick’s Day is getting people/spectators in and out of the city centre safely.
“There were portions of Dame Street at one stage where there was literally room for one person walking behind the group of spectators,” the Garda said.
“Temple Bar Square, even before the parade started, was full. It had a constant large number of people in it throughout the day but it was mostly good natured particularly around Temple Bar Square, with a lot of non-Irish nationals who were in to experience the atmosphere.
“There was some drinking but, for the most part, it was all very good natured and there was a good atmosphere.”
In some parts of the city, barriers along the parade route were covered with notices saying: “No Parade Viewing”. According to the Garda source, this is to allow for crossing points. “They are different than normal barriers. The whole point of a crossing route is to allow people to cross a parade route and to have a defined break point where if something happened you can get people off the parade route if needs be or get vehicles on the parade route if needs be.
“What has happened in previous years, people who arrive late, to get a better view, they congregate at the crossing points thus blocking the crossing point and so rendering them useless.
“There is a covering put on the barriers, in excess of six feet high so people can’t stand and watch the parade at those points so they are kept clear.”
The issue of underage drinking remains a problem, but there was no noticeable increase in such incidents. “We run a few things, such as greeting buses coming into town and we would seize alcohol from groups, particularly youths coming in to the city centre. We had agreed with off-licence trades in the southside not to serve before 3pm and in the northside they did not serve until 4pm.
“It worked reasonably well, but what I think we will do next year is have a co-ordinated time across the city centre.
“This day is family orientated and we would encourage shops to stay open so that it does make the day more festive and not just purely about drunken debauchery.
“The tone of the day was to be polite and firm, and to facilitate people enjoying the day, but not allowing any of the negativity associated with assaults, thefts and the public disorder to take over,” the garda added.

Related Articles