Anti-lockdown conspiracy theorists took over a parking lot outside a petrol station in south Dublin to spread misinformation about facemasks, lockdowns, and the coronavirus vaccine.
A widely circulated video on social media showed a number of anti-lockdown slogans appearing on a portable electronic board outside Maxol Service Station in Templeogue. The petrol station quickly distanced itself from the incident.
Messages such as "95% of COVID tests are false positives", "Masks spread germs", and "Experimental vaccines breach the Nuremberg code" appeared on the portable board in an incident that has drawn widespread criticism.
The petrol station condemned the incident in a statement on Instagram, stating that the perpetrators were immediately asked to leave the premises.
"We would just like to make clear that any messages shown in this video are not the views or beliefs of the management or staff of Maxol Templeogue.
The trailer was parked on our forecourt without permission but was quickly told to leave when management were made aware," the store said in a statement on Instagram.
View this post on Instagram
The board appeared outside the store in early December, the store told IrishCentral, while others said that they had seen the same board in Malahide in north Dublin at a different time.
Paul Murphy, a People Before Profit TD representing the Dublin South-West constituency criticized the incident and the group responsible for it.
"It’s extremely concerning that blatantly false and dangerous misinformation is being broadcast to people," Murphy told IrishCentral."I welcome the fact that Maxol condemned the message and indicated that it did not have permission to be on its forecourt.
"I would encourage people to be vigilant for this board or other misinformation being spread. COVID is unfortunately very real, being responsible for over 2,500 deaths in Ireland now. It is vital that people do wear masks, socially distance and are vaccinated as soon as possible to keep each other safe."
Meanwhile, local Sinn Féin TD Sean Crowe also denounced the incident and said that misinformation campaigns were thwarting Ireland's attempts to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
"I am deeply concerned by the presence of anti-mask and anti-vax disinformation campaigns that have been present throughout the pandemic," Crowe said.
"We have seen protests turn violent and mobile billboards broadcasting false information that hinders our ability to stamp out COVID.
2I have repeatedly made calls on the HSE to take a more proactive line on these disinformation campaigns and I call on anyone who is knowingly spreading these harmful communications to stop."
A Maxol spokesperson told Dublin Live that a number of stores with large parking lots were being targeted by the anti-lockdown group.
"They arrive up to a premises and video their campaign messages until they are seen and moved on," the spokesperson said.
Gardaí are conducting inquiries into the matter to ascertain whether any COVID-19 restrictions were breached during the incident. Gardaí are also investigating whether any breaches of other criminal legislation took place.
A work colleague on her way to get her vaccine this morning came across this shite. She’s a nurse working extremely hard to support vulnerable ppl w/complex needs- some of whom have Covid. pic.twitter.com/mlMt30iGvJ— Anne Cronin (@AnneCronin5) January 15, 2021