9 March 2006 Edition
Freedom of assembly in Dublin under attack
Dublin's City Manager has revealed that he favours restrictions on the right to demosntrate in the city centre.
John Fitgerald told Dublin City Council's monthly meeting on Monday, 6 March that the whole O'Connell Street area would have to be looked at, while reporting to the council on the recent riots in the city centre connected to a proposed march by the unionist Love Ulster group. A motion, condemning the riots was unanimously passed by the council.
The City Manager's latest remarks are in line with predictions in An Phoblacht last week, that the riot would be used as an excuse to further ongoing reactionary attempts to restrict the right to assembly in the centre of Dublin. The last such attempt by former Lord Mayor Maurice Ahern, was defeated.
Sinn Féin members of the council have pledged to oppose any new moves to restrict the right to protest. Speaking in support of the motion condemning the riots, Sinn Féin's Dublin South East Representative, Councillor Daithí Doolan, said: "The riots we witnessed were totally wrong, no one can condone what happened in response to the Love Ulster march, but to use thuggish behaviour as an excuse to restrict our rights is equally unacceptable.
"People have a right to march, protest, picket and demonstrate in our cities and towns. It is unacceptable that some people, including officials in City Council are attempting to use recent riots as an excuse to undermine those very rights."