Gardaí have said extra patrols will be on standby over the weekend following a spate of street violence and drunkenness that led to hundreds of arrests throughout the country yesterday and overnight.

714 people were arrested for public order offences throughout the country over the course of the St Patrick's Day festivities.

Most of the arrests were in Dublin, but gardaí also detained a number of people in Cork, Limerick and Waterford.

The disorder stretched the resources of gardaí and the emergency services, and has prompted one MEP to call on the EU Council of Ministers to address the problem of binge drinking.

The number arrested on public order charges in Dublin alone was 252.

The figures apply to the period from 6am on St Patrick's morning to 6am this morning.

There were several violent incidents on the DART including an assault, vandalism and fighting. Two trains had to be taken out of service after windows were smashed. 

Gardaí have appealed for witnesses to come forward after at least four young men smashed up to 25 windows on a DART train at Howth Junction in Dublin at teatime yesterday.

Gardaí and the ambulance service were also called to break up a fight between around 25 people on an evening train. Gardaí have appealed for witnesses to come forward.

In another incident in Bray, Co Wicklow, two security guards were assaulted.

In Cork, gardaí from the Bridewell made over 60 arrests arising from drunk and disorderly behaviour.

And in Limerick city, more than 60 people were also arrested overall with seven taken into custody after a fight broke out at a bar in the city centre.

22 people were arrested for public order offences in Waterford city in relation to the St Patrick’s Day celebrations, while four arrests were made in Tramore in the county.

Accident and Emergency Departments reported a big rise in admissions. Tallaght and Beaumont hospitals in Dublin are said to have dealt with 400 patients overnight.

Fine Gael MEP Avril Doyle said binge drinking was one of the most urgent challenges facing European health ministers. She said the ready accessibility of alcohol must be looked at very seriously.