Council and Gardaí will meet to consider steps in addressing ongoing far-right demo at Google HQ

Dublin city council and An Gardaí Siochana are meeting to discuss the ongoing demonstration following complaints from local residents.

Protesters at Google HQ
Image: Tom Honan/The Irish Times

Dublin City councillors have been called to convene a special meeting with An Garda Síochana to address ongoing protests outside the Google HQ Dublin offices.

Gemma O’Doherty has staged a protest under Anti-Corruption Ireland (ACI), a group founded by O’Doherty, outside Google HQ following the removal of her YouTube channel, for violating its policies aimed at protecting against hate speech.

The meeting is being arranged out of ordinary circumstances as the council traditionally does not meet in August. It follows a request made by several Fine Gael councillors. A briefing has been arranged for 11 am on Friday morning to discuss the matter.

O’Doherty’s demonstration, now in its fifth week, has whipped up far-right rhetoric, as evidenced by photos of her supporters giving ‘Nazi salutes’ outside the Google offices. O’Doherty complains she is being “subjected to censorship” by Google’s subsidiary YouTube.

A counter rally took place on Saturday, August 10 under the umbrella group ‘Speakers Unicorner‘ who said they were rallying “to stand up in numbers to the racists and fascists who have been ensconced there (Barrow Street) for weeks and to stop their spreading of hate on our streets”.

Green Party councillor, Hazel Chu, who attended the rally at Google HQ shared how she has been targeted online by O’Doherty’s supporters: “People are now questioning whether I had the right to be elected even though I was born in Ireland. I am getting a lot of hate mail at the moment telling me to go back to China. I am now also getting silent calls. I had six nuisance calls on Friday.”

Yesterday, August 13, gardaí approached ACI demonstrators and read out the Public Order Act, suggesting they do not breach it.

The Public Order Act states that a person acting offensively, distributing or displaying threatening or insulting writing or signs, or obstructing free movement in public, may be asked to “desist from acting in such a manner, and leave immediately the vicinity of the place concerned in a peaceable or orderly manner”.

It has been reported that O’Doherty and other protesters were asked to stop playing loud music, beating drums and using an amplifier in line with the laws.

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A spokesperson for An Garda Siochana confirmed that protesters were approached by gardaí but “no arrests or official interventions have occurred.

“The persons involved in the demonstrations have been informed that they do have the right to protest as long as their actions do not breach the public order act.”

The special meeting was proposed by Fine Gael councillor Danny Byrne who said the protests were having a severe impact on residents in the area.

“I’ve been in touch with gardaí, Google management and local residents, and I am being told different things and nothing is getting solved,” he said.

“So we’re having a meeting with council management, the residents and gardaí to solve and put an end to this. I know a girl living there and studying for a masters and she just can’t do it in the privacy of her own home because of it,” he added.

Labour councillor Dermot Lacey said that he will be attending the meeting but is wary of giving the group any further attention:

“I will attend the meeting on Friday. I mean, I do have concerns about all of this, that we’re giving a bunch of attention seekers even more attention

“I don’t think the behaviour of a fringe-right group should be tolerated… I have this little bit of me that says maybe these people should be told to go away and we ignore them.”

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