A Dublin councilor has suggested that people who took part in the anti-racism protests in Dublin should have their €350 COVID-19 payments cut.

Fine Gael Councilor David McManus told a Dublin radio station that the "reckless" protesters should have their weekly payments removed "as their actions are a blatant breach of public health guidelines."

While he expressed his condolences to the loved ones of George Floyd, who was killed by a Minneapolis cop last month, and said that racism should not be tolerated, he said that the protests were meant to show solidarity, and asked: "Where was the solidarity with our frontline workers?"

He suggested that anyone who took part in the mass gatherings should have their weekly pandemic payments removed if they are in receipt of them.

"I believe that George Floyd was murdered and we need to show solidarity,” he said, "but we are in the middle of the biggest public health crisis our country has ever faced.

"If people are going to break the restrictions if these protesters are not going to show solidarity with Irish society, then why should we as a society show solidarity with them via the €350 payment?"

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McManus stressed that it was not just the anti-racism protesters who should have their payments removed, but "anyone caught breaking the guidelines,” referencing earlier protests against the introduction of the lockdown.

The latest Black Lives Matter protest which took place in Dublin last Saturday was a "blatant" breach, he said.

"They had clear warnings from the Department of Health... they knew the risk they were taking, they knew the restrictions were in place, and they chose to ignore them,” he said.

"For the vast majority of Irish people who are following the lockdown rules, I think it's a slap in the face. Solidarity is a two-way street.  It works both ways."

He said that police in Belfast were taking details and handing out on-the-spot fines to protesters caught breaching guidelines over the weekend and suggested that Gardai could do the same here.

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