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'Gardaí have adequate powers to tackle parties' - Justice Minister

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The ‘rave’ at Oliver Bond St

The ‘rave’ at Oliver Bond St

The ‘rave’ at Oliver Bond St

Justice Minister Helen McEntee said she would consider giving gardaí more enforcement powers to tackle Covid-19 parties.

However, Ms McEntee says she believes the current legislation underpinning the new rules on home visits and outdoor gatherings are "proportionate".

The minister said she has been "assured" the powers are available to gardaí to deal with parties such as the rave that took place outside the Oliver Bonds flats complex in Dublin city centre on Saturday.

She said there are already laws in place that make it illegal to organise large parties either indoors and outdoors. The minister also said there is an "element of personal responsibility" on people who attend such events.

"We've made it very clear what is a penal provision and what's not, what is the law, what's not, what we expect from people and what they should be adhering to or not," she said.

Engage

"If there is a requirement for further legislation, if there's a requirement for further powers, we will always engage with the gardaí on that, but I think we have to be proportionate here.

"We have to, I think, approach this in the way that we always have and that's working with people, encouraging people to adhere to the guidelines, educating them about the guidelines in the first place and, as a very last resort, enforcement."

The minister's comments came after it emerged a Garda investigation has been launched into a street party near the Oliver Bond Street flats complex.

Gardaí are investigating whether the organisers of the event breached Covid-19 restrictions on outdoor gatherings.

An investigation is also underway into the possibility that drug dealing was taking place at the party on Saturday evening - the same day new restrictions came into place in Dublin.

Scenes from the party have sparked outrage among Dubliners who have to endure new restrictions for the next three weeks.

The video footage shows around 100 people dancing while music is played by a DJ performing under a marquee.

Residents in the flats complex have condemned the party and said they called gardaí several times on the night.