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Dublin Live
Dublin Live
Laura Lyne & Robbie Kane & Dan Grennan

Woman in labour required garda escort as East Wall protesters blocked Port Tunnel

A woman in labour trying to get to the Rotunda Hospital had to be escorted by gardai as protesters blocked Dublin's Port Tunnel today.

The woman and her partner, who were in a taxi, had to head to the inner city maternity hospital with the help of gardai after shouting at the crowds to let them pass. They were among hundreds of motorists who were stuck at the busy southbore entrance.

The demonstration by the East Wall Protest Committee saw the road and Port Tunnel closed by gardai. Around 200 protesters attended the march which caused severe disruption in the area for around an hour.

Read more: East Wall locals slam 'embarrassing' refugee protests bringing 'element of fear' to the area

The protesting, which is due to take place each Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the foreseeable future, is taking place over concerns about asylum seekers in the former ESB building in East Wall. While some locals have issues about the lack of communication from the Government, others have called the marches "embarrassing".

One motorist told Dublin Live: "I'm trying to get to work, so it's not really helping me at the moment. I understand that people have an issue but it's affecting me getting to work. I don't think it's the way to do it, I think there are other ways to get their point across."

While another added: "I just want to get home, home from work. I'm working all day, and up early. The reason I'm on this was to get home early, with the tunnel, I thought I was taking a shortcut.

"Now I'm in favour of the protesters, I think what they're doing is generally right but I'm not in favour of them blocking the roads and blocking the traffic and holding up the whole city. I don't think that's right, we just want to get home, you know."

30/11/2022 Residents and protesters of the East Wall area stop traffic during a protest about Government policy on the use of empty office buildings in the area as temporary housing for refugees (Colin Keegan, Collins)

Ahead of the protests comedian and East Wall resident Killian Sundermann told Dublin Live: "I think it is disgraceful. I think it is really, really bad. If people are saying they have a problem with the Government then why are they doing it outside of that building there [the ESB Office Block]. The Government don't sit there."

The comedian, who was a part of RTE's No Worries If Not! comedy sketch show, added: "The only reason they seem to be there is to intimidate, and I think it is just a really horrible thing to do. I don't know what their aim is but it appears to me they want to make a very bad vibe for people in difficult circumstances."

Read more: East Wall protesters warn Port Tunnel blockage 'just a small taste of what is to come'

Another woman, who lives in an apartment directly across from the office block, said she was against the refugees being moved into the office block because of the already overcrowded services for children in the area.

The protesters have warned that blocking the Port Tunnel is "just a taste of what's to come". In a letter posted on social media on Tuesday night, they said: "Protests will escalate nationwide if this government doesn't close this centre in its entirety. We welcome all participants, citizen journalists and observers but political messaging such as speeches and banners etc will during our protests will be rejected by East Wall residents.

"We are not a platform for point scoring votes or virtue signalling. This is a real community with real people who simply ask for supporters as we face down this government."

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