2,500 gardaí to be deployed on St Patrick's Day amid planned anti-lockdown protests

2,500 gardaí to be deployed on St Patrick's Day amid planned anti-lockdown protests

THOUSANDS OF gardaí will be patrolling the streets on St Patrick's Day as Ireland experiences the second year in a row in lockdown.

In a statement issued by An Garda Síochána this morning, a spokesperson reminded people to stay at home and not to have visitors to their home as Ireland remains under Level 5 lockdown.

Urging the public to "avoid large gatherings and house parties", the spokesperson said "Despite constant and consistent public health advice, An Garda Síochána continues to find people gathering in large groups at social occasions and at house parties".

They warned that these types of gatherings puts everyone at risk of catching Covid-19, and at risk of being fined-- revealing that 429 people had been fined €500 each for organising a party and 1,677 had been fined €150 for attending a gathering.

More than 2,500 officers will be deployed across Ireland tomorrow to ensure compliance with public health measures, including a large number of checkpoints ensuring people are staying within their 5km and checks on public transport

The large police presence comes as multiple protests are planned to take place in Dublin tomorrow "which will require a significant Garda policing operation".

Garda officers will be assisted by the dog unit, the mounted unit, air support and public order as they prepare for protests similar to those seen in Dublin last month, where a number of gardaí were injured and multiple people arrested.

27/02/2020. Anti Lockdown Protest - Dublin. Pictured members of An Garda Siochana are forced to draw battons as an angry Anti Lockdown protest tried to break through erected barriers to a meeting spot at St Stephens green, Fireworks and bottles where thrown up Grafton Street before the crowd marched around the City Center before finishing at the GPO. Photo: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

The public have been told to keep away from Dublin city centre as cordons and restrictions will be set up which will make access to the city difficult.

Gardaí have urged people not to attend these protests, and have confirmed they will be conducting checks on public transport and other routes into the city centre to turn back those not on essential journeys.

"An Garda Síochána will continue to use its 4Es approach,"a spokesperson said.

"Engaging, explaining, and encouraging with enforcement a last resort."