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Last Updated: Monday, 27 February 2006, 14:12 GMT
Irish police in riot inquiry call
Rioter throws a stone as a police officer takes cover
A rioter throws a stone as a police officer takes cover
A group representing the Irish police has joined politicians in the Republic in calls for an independent inquiry into how riots in Dublin were handled.

Trouble broke out on Saturday after republican protestors tried to stop a loyalist march and unionist rally.

Forty-one people were arrested and 13 have already appeared in court. Retailers claim they lost 10m euro in sales after shoppers fled the area.

The Irish justice minister has ruled out a public inquiry into the events.

Michael McDowell said that gardai would carry out an operational investigation and learn from what happened.

"Dublin is a peaceful prosperous capital of a liberal open society," he said on Monday.

"We cannot have a situation where a group of thugs prevent some people from exercising their civil liberties, but insist that O'Connell Street and the GPO is always available for their macabre demonstrations whenever they want to have them."

The gardai have defended their handling of the parade saying they had no advance knowledge of the scale of the protests.

But the president of the Garda Representative Association, Dermot O'Donnell, said there must be an independent report because officers' lives were put at risk.

"They were magnificent and I am extremely proud at how they held their line in extreme provocation and extreme danger," he said.

"It is nothing short of a miracle that some of our members were not killed. They were set on fire, had barriers thrown at them and had pavement slabs thrown on top of them. We had 21 members injured."

A preliminary Garda report on the riot is to be handed to the Irish government on Monday and further arrests are expected over the coming days.

During the trouble, Irish police and youths fought pitched battles along O'Connell Street and 41 people were arrested.

Thirteen of the 41 people arrested were charged with public order offences before a special sitting of Dublin District Court on Saturday night.

More people are expected before emergency court sittings in Dublin on Monday in connection with the violence.


Disturbances broke out in O'Connell Street, where a Love Ulster rally to remember the victims of republican violence was to start.

Stones and fireworks were thrown after republican demonstrators mounted a counter-march.

Rioting continued for several hours and cars were burned and shops looted as the trouble moved towards Government Buildings, where some of the Love Ulster marchers held a rally.

The offices of the Progressive Democrats political party were also attacked.

There has been widespread condemnation of the violence with Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern saying there was "absolutely no excuse for the disgraceful scenes".

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain said people had the right to protest peacefully, but it was very important they also worked together rather than "provoke each other".

Willie Frazer, of the victims' group Fair who took part in Saturday's rally, said no decision had been made on whether another parade would be staged in the future.

"We will have to reflect on what actually took place and consider that because we are not the type of people who give up, 35 years of terrorism has not deterred us," he said.

DUP MP, Jeffery Donaldson, who was due to speak at the rally, said marchers were not to blame for the trouble.

"There was no intention on the part of the people who participated in this parade to provoke anyone," he said.

"Where the marchers were hemmed in, there wasn't any one any where near them, so I don't see how they could have been provoked."

Officers injured in Dublin riot
25 Feb 06 |  Northern Ireland

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