Protesters amassed outside Áras an Uachtaráin in Phoenix park this evening in response to the recent ramming through of Covid legislation last night by the government.
The legislation, which has stirred up significant controversy nationwide, would forbid many of those not vaccinated against the virus from being able to dine within various establishments.
The event marks the second protest in as many days, with the previous protest occurring outside the Convention Centre at Spencer Dock, where the Dáil has been temporarily relocated to.
The legislation which sparked both protests would see indoor hospitality partially re-open from lockdown, but only for those who have been fully vaccinated. In order for this legislation to be passed into law though, it must first be signed by the president of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins. The rally saw thousands assembled outside of his presidential residence in order to oppose his signing of the new bill.
The protests appear to mark a potential turning point in public opinion regarding lockdown. While there has previously been some silent disobedience regarding restrictions, such as the notorious large scale gathering of young people in Dublin city centre earlier in the year, this is the first time that any sort of anti-restriction activism has gained any meaningful traction with major opposition parties. Members of Sinn Féin in particular are starting to turn heavily against the unequal restrictions, with one TD having to apologize after drawing comparisons between the new lockdown regime and Jim Crow America.
Ultimately though, it remains unclear whether the resistance to the new enforcement regime will see any success. While this author believes it to be more than merely possible that Mr Higgins may refer the legislation to the courts in order for their constitutionality to be examined, such a referral is unlikely, in this day and age, to see the legislation overturned. This is, of course, not a legal opinion on this author’s part, but instead one inspired by what appears to be the political outlook of Ireland in 2021.