Gardai clear Occupy protest camp
The Occupy Dame Street camp in Dublin city centre has been cleared by gardai and councils chiefs.
The anti-capitalist protesters have called for public support after their camp was dismantled outside the Central Bank.
Up to 100 gardai and officials from Dublin City Council were involved in the operation, which began at about 3.30am on Thursday. Dame Street was cordoned off with about 15 protesters kept outside a perimeter while the site was cleared 10 days ahead of St Patrick's Day festival, which includes a parade past the site.
A garda spokesman said one person was arrested for public order outside the cordon.
Gardai said they had communicated by letter and in person with the organisers of the Dame Street protest in recent weeks outlining the significant health and safety concerns at the site over the St Patrick's Day parade.
"We sought their assistance and co-operation, however this was not forthcoming," a spokesman said. "An Garda Siochana's priority is to ensure that all of St Patrick's Day events and celebrations pass off smoothly and that all participants and the large crowds of spectators at the parade can access and egress the parade route without a risk or threat to their health and safety."
The Occupy Dame Street movement had said it would continue its protest despite a garda request to move last month. The group had been camping at the site since last October in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street demonstration in New York. A protest is planned at the site later on Thursday.
The Central Bank confirmed it asked gardai to move the campaigners. A spokesman said: "Following serious health and safety and public order concerns raised with the bank by An Garda Siochana, notably in relation to the forthcoming St Patrick's Day events, the bank confirms that it requested the garda to peacefully remove the occupiers and the encampment from the Central Bank plaza."
Dublin City Council said it had staff on the scene to support the clearance by removing structures from the street.
It said: "In relation to the Occupy Dame Street clearance, the role of Dublin City Council was purely one of assistance to the gardai. The council provided three trucks to facilitate the removal of materials from the camp and the area was cleaned after the operation."