Dublin City Council is closing Portobello Plaza this weekend due to what it describes as "completely unacceptable" behaviour by some people in the area.

The council has asked the public not to come to the plaza after recent weekends have seen up to 1,000 people congregating "without due regard for Covid-19 restrictions".

In a statement, the council said "the associated anti-social behaviour is having a hugely detrimental effect on both the local community and the environment.

Following consultation with local residents, public representatives, and gardaí, Portobello Plaza will be closed to the public from this afternoon until Monday morning 17 May.

The situation will be reviewed next week.

The council also reminded the public that it is illegal to drink alcohol outdoors in a public place under city council by-laws.

It said there will be increased enforcement by gardaí in the Portobello area this weekend and "anyone found consuming alcohol outdoors in a public space may be fined".

Chief Executive of Dublin City Council Owen Keegan has said the action had to be taken due to "a serious adverse impact" on local residents.

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Morning Ireland, he said: "We've had to take this action because it's been evident over recent weeks that very significant crowds are gathering at a number of locations around the city but probably the worst was at Portobello Plaza where large amounts of alcohol being consumed.

"There's no regard for sort of public health guidelines, and it is having a very serious adverse impact on local residents".

Mr Keegan described "noise, urination, and defecation" in the area as being "intolerable" for residents.

"It has just been a shambles for the residents", he said, adding that the council had "no choice" but to close off the area.

"We consulted with gardaí on it. We really have no choice but to close and to try and discourage people coming in, just for the purpose of drinking in large, congregated settings".

He said there has been a "disconnect" between public health guidelines and the "messaging" encouraging people to stay outdoors.

"Yes, certainly people have been encouraged to go outdoors but you can’t organise a concert.

"It seems incongruous that you can have up to 1,000 people congregating. They might as well be at a concert except there are no facilities, there's no crowd management. There's no control of noise, so it's not really acceptable."

Mr Keegan said Dublin City Council will be asking publicans to remove barrels that he said have been rolled out onto the streets in recent days.

He said pubs have been serving takeaway pints despite outdoor dining not being permitted until 7 June.

"Outdoor dining isn't permitted until the 7th of June, and yet we have we see now in recent weeks pubs opening up and serving takeaway points, and then in the last few days we noticed a huge number of pubs rolling barrels out on the street.

"We will be telling them today to remove them. There is no provision under the guidelines for outdoor dining until the 7th June, and yet there's been a huge growth in outdoor consumption of alcohol", Mr Keegan said.