Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show Irish Police Escorting Schoolchildren Because Of Migrant Camps In Dublin -- It Was Field Trip

Fact Check

  • by: Uliana Malashenko
Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show Irish Police Escorting Schoolchildren Because Of Migrant Camps In Dublin -- It Was Field Trip Field Trip

Does video show Irish police walking with schoolchildren in Dublin to protect them from asylum-seekers living in a tent camp? No, that's not true: The police told Lead Stories that the videos shared on social media showed a routine practice of community units helping local schools navigate field trips. The statement "categorically rejected" the connection between camps and law enforcement's appearance in this particular case and referred to the claim as "misinformation, disinformation and fake news."

The claim appeared in a post (archived here) on X, formerly known as Twitter, on May 14, 2024. It began:

It appears as if Gardai are escorting school children past the foreigner camp on Dublin's Grand Canal.

In other words, Gardai are aware these men are dangerous.

This is what the post looked like on X at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2024-05-15 at 12.18.38 PM.png

(Source: X screenshot taken on Wed May 15 17:18:38 2024 UTC)

Though no sign of migrants' tent camps is seen in the two shared videos that show officers walking with groups of schoolchildren, the post implied that the presence of the police was the result of the danger coming from asylum seekers living in those camps.

However, that was not the reason for law enforcement's appearance in this case.

The Irish national police, known as Garda Síochána or Gardaí, told Lead Stories via email on May 15, 2024, that they are "acutely aware of the continued proliferation of misinformation, disinformation and fake news in circulation, particularly in relation to International Protection Applicants" and that they "categorically reject" the claim that is the focus of this fact check.

The statement explained:

The Community Policing Unit in Pearse Street engage regularly with local schools and have in the past and will continue in the future to assist with school activities, in this case walking almost 100 young pupils on a school trip across the city as there were a lot of major junctions and crossings on the route. Gardaí assisted by making sure the young children did not get separated due to their large numbers and the rapid changing of some of the crossings.

This is a very common occurrence for this Community Policing Office who have assisted a number of the schools in the area in a similar way, and will continue to do so.

The Journal (archived here), a Dublin-based media outlet that was the first to review the claim, added that the post went up on social media as migrants' tents reappeared between the Baggot Street and Leeson Street bridges along a canal after they had been removed on May 1, 2024 (archived here).

The said community policing unit is headquartered within a 30-minute walking distance from the canal (archived here).

A Lead Stories reporter virtually walked the distance between the two bridges on Google Maps (archived here) and found a house with very similar features (archived here) to a house observed in the rightside video from the post (seen on the left below). It had the same order of blue and yellow doors, the same brown facade, the same three top windows with a different distance in between and the same two bottom windows with triangular elements in the upper part, better seen in the August 2021 version of the street view on the right below:

Screenshot 2024-05-15 at 4.29.09 PM.png

(Sources: X screenshot taken on Wed May 15 17:18:38 2024 UTC; Google Maps screenshot taken on Wed May 15 20:11:14 2024 UTC; composite image by Lead Stories)

As of this writing, it was not immediately clear whether the clip was filmed before or after the tent camp was re-established in this area.

According to EuroNews (archived here), the account that posted the claim on social media represents an anti-immigration group that encouraged people to protest against asylum seekers and went as far as taking responsibility for starting a fire in a migrant camp in Dublin in May 2023.

Other Lead Stories fact checks concerning international stories can be found here.

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