People responsible for temporary closure of Dublin-New York portal have ‘let us all down’, Minister says

Paschal Donohoe rejects suggestion those responsible for inappropriate behaviour come from north inner city

People who engaged in inappropriate behaviour that led to a livestream portal between Dublin and New York being temporarily switched off have “let us all down”, Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe has said.

The portal, which provides a direct real-time link from Dublin’s North Earl Street to New York’s Fifth Avenue, had proven a hit on both sides of the Atlantic until it was disabled on Tuesday night following a series of incidents including lewd flashing and the displaying of images including from the 9/11 attacks.

Mr Donohoe, in whose Dublin Central constituency the portal is located, said that while only a small number of people had engaged in inappropriate behaviour, it was having an impact on the art installation. He rejected a suggestion that those responsible came from the north inner city.

“I don’t accept the premise that everybody who was involved in that behaviour came from the north inner city. That is an assumption that I don’t accept,” he said.

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“I feel that the very small number of people who have been involved in inappropriate behaviour have let us all down,” he added. “But you only have to see the numbers of people coming to Dublin at the moment to spend their summer holidays here to know that the standing of Dublin in the eyes of the rest of the world is still really really high.

“I hope the portal not only stays in Dublin, but that it stays where it is.”

Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin said people using the portal need to be “cognisant” of the fact that children may be watching. Asked whether she had concerns about the city’s reputation due to the incidents of bad behaviour, she said: “I think Dublin is still a top destination for tourism and will continue to be.”

Dublin City Council has said the team behind the portal, Portals.org, has been investigating possible technical solutions to prevent inappropriate behaviour being beamed across the Atlantic. The council’s preferred solution, blurring the inappropriate behaviour, did not work, and efforts to find a way to address the issues that have arisen are ongoing.

The screen on Wednesday carried the words: “Portal is asleep – Back up soon”. – PA

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