Dublin braces itself for loyalist protest
Fears are continuing to mount that the planned loyalist protest outside Leinster House in Dublin on Saturday could see a repeat of the rioting which greeted the Love Ulster march in 2006.
Irish Justice Minister Alan Shatter insisted yesterday that gardai would be prepared for any potential flashpoints at the march, which is being organised by Willie Frazer .
Mr Shatter said individuals had a right to march on the streets of Ireland, in protest or to express a view.
"They have a democratic right and an entitlement to do so," he said.
He added: "I know that the gardai will undertake any preparation necessary to ensure that if there is an event in Dublin, the maximum possible is done to guarantee the safety of any individuals, who march."
Mr Shatter said he hoped that others would not opportunistically use the event to create problems on the streets of Dublin.
He also expressed his concerns for members of the PSNI, who had been targeted and said he hoped the controversy would quieten down.
Retail Excellence Ireland expressed concern that the march could hit already-fragile Dublin city-centre businesses.
Chief executive David Fitzsimons said that marches "send a message to consumers, to citizens, that their civic space is closed, is not available to them and in this case is potentially dangerous".
An Oireachtas spokesman confirmed that the Tricolour will not be flying on the day of the protest.
The flag only flies over Leinster House when the Dail or Seanad is in official session.