The Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, John O'Donoghue, has said he does not anticipate any violent protests at the May Day celebrations.

Celebrations are taking place this weekend to mark the accession of ten countries to the EU.

Speaking on RTÉ radio, Mr O'Donoghue added that protesters normally do not target fringe celebratory events.

He said he does not expect any difficulties with the celebrations in Dublin, where a big security operation will take place, or elsewhere across the country.

Gardaí prepare for protests

Yesterday, Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy said he expected that up to 300 international protesters might attempt to cause disturbances at the celebrations in Dublin.

In a separate development, it has been reported that a prison wing, which accommodates up to 100 prisoners in Dublin's Cloverhill jail, has been cleared in case large numbers of protesters are detained during Saturday's demonstrations.

According to a report in the Irish Times, prisoners have been transferred to Wheatfield Prison in recent days.

Special sittings at the prison's courthouse are also reported to be planned.