THERE IS “no evidence” of far-left involvement in the Dublin anti-lockdown protest.
That’s according to Garda Commissioner Drew Harris, who issued a statement clarifying his previous remarks relating to the unrest witnessed in the Irish capital.
Harris had initially suggested “anti-lockdown, anti-vaccine and anti-facemask types” were joined on the protest by "elements of both the far-left and far-right" who all worked “in concert with each other.”
However, the Garda Commissioner has now walked back on those claims stating that, "despite initial indications, following further investigations, there is no corroborated evidence of extreme left factions being involved".
Harris said the "vast majority of those who took part [yesterday] belong to a number of factions including anti-vaccine, anti-mask and anti-lockdown protestors, far right groups, and those intent on trouble and disorder".
The shift comes after the Garda Commissioner drew widespread criticism from elected members of the Dáil like Paul Murphy and Mick Barry over his claims around far left involvement.
Harris used his new statement to expressed gratitude for the messages of support sent to those Garda injured during the riot.
He said.: "I also want to thank the public for the many messages of goodwill expressed towards members of An Garda Síochána who policed the protest and, in particular, towards those members who were injured."
Maybe it’s time to take the far right seriously? Here’s a Fascist demo from this afternoon on Dublin’s Grafton St. Note the use of explosives & that they came armed. pic.twitter.com/pjmpRnZc6X
— Dr Robert Bohan Artist (@RobertBohan) February 27, 2021
Up to 23 people were arrested following the protests and Harris expects more arrests to be made in the coming days.
"Very regrettably, people arrived intent on violence,” Haris said.
“They engaged in attacks on members of An Garda Siochana including the throwing of a firework type device. There will be a full investigation into this.
"There were some 23 arrests that we have made already and those arrests are continuing. This operation is not over as we pursue individuals who engage in protest and illegal activity today.
"They had no reasonable grounds for being there in the first place so we will pursue particularly those who formed a very hard core to deal with.
"You don't carry a firework to a protest with any other purpose than to engage in violent conduct. We will follow through with an investigation to bring the perpetrators to justice."
12 men and one woman have already been brought before a special sitting of the court and charged with breaches of the Public Order Act.