Cost of policing protests at Leinster House increases ninefold between 2022 and 2023

Costs last year came to €224,150 compared with €23,730 in 2022, as number of protests across Dublin went up by 101%

Policing protests at Leinster House cost more than nine times more in 2023 than in 2022, according to newly released Garda figures.

Costs including spending on overtime for gardaí, street closures and barriers came to about €224,150 across 22 protests last year.

This compares to just over €23,730 in spending on policing 14 protests at Leinster House in 2022, according to figures released to The Irish Times under the Freedom of Information Act.

The Garda has put the higher spending in the context of a 101 per cent increase in the number of protests it policed across the capital in 2023 compared to 2022.


Of the 22 protests that saw expenditure by gardaí in 2023, 20 occurred on or after September 20th, the day the Dáil returned from its summer recess.

That protest saw a crowd of about 200 people gathered outside Leinster House protesting about everything from immigration to Covid-19 vaccines.

The demonstration included a mock gallows, and some politicians required Garda assistance to enter the Houses of the Oireachtas complex.

There were 13 arrests on the day.

A Garda statement said: “The fourth quarter of 2023 has seen an increase in demonstrations/protests in the city centre (ie in a number of locations in the city centre, not just at Leinster House) associated to the ongoing conflict in Israel and Palestine.”

It added: “As can be seen from the costs provided and was evident at the time, for operational reasons, in 2023 An Garda Síochána increased the number of gardaí policing protests at Leinster House, increased the security infrastructure, and more frequently closed surrounding streets.

“This resulted in increased costs.”

The Garda also said there was a 101 per cent increase in protests across the Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR) in 2023 compared to the previous year.

It said: “In 2022, Garda responded to 307 protests in the DMR, while in 2023 that number rose to 617.”

It added: “It should also be noted that the nature of protest activity during 2023 was more disruptive than in 2022″ and there were 54 people arrested across 25 protests in 2023.

The Garda statement said: “A further number of investigations were initiated arising from the behaviour engaged in by a small number of individuals during protests activity in 2023.

“A number of investigation files have been completed and were forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions for consideration regarding any potential criminal offences that may have been committed.”

The 54 arrests at protests cited in the Garda statement does not include the 34 people arrested on the night of the Dublin riot on November 23rd.

Last year saw a series of anti-immigration protests in the capital.

The Garda statement said that 106 of the 617 protests in 2023 were related to the war in Gaza.

Dublin City Council’s Joint Policing Committee was told by Assistant Garda Commissioner for the DMR Angela Willis that 45 of the 54 arrests at protests in 2023 were in relation to “anti-immigrant sentiment”.

The records released by the Garda show that €15,946 was spent on overtime for gardaí policing protests at Leinster House in 2022. A further €7,787 was spent on catering and traffic management, bringing the total that year to €23,733.

In 2023 Garda overtime for policing protests at Leinster House came to €100,836.

Travel and subsistence costs for the same period amounted to €23,101. Meanwhile, further costs related to traffic management, the hiring of barriers and catering for Garda members came to €100,217. The spend in 2023 was €224,154.

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Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn is a Political Correspondent at The Irish Times