24 November 2023, The Tablet

Arrests after riots in Dublin that followed stabbings outside school

The violence erupted in the wake of a knife attack on children leaving Cólaiste Mhuire on Parnell Square, a city centre primary school.

Arrests after riots in Dublin that followed stabbings outside school

Debris is cleared from a burned out Luas and bus on O'Connell Street in Dublin, in the aftermath of violent scenes in the city centre on Thursday evening.
PA Images / Alamy

Police in Ireland have arrested 34 people following Thursday evening’s riot in Dublin city centre which erupted following an earlier knife attack outside a primary school leaving three children and a woman injured, two of them critically.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris blamed the “huge destruction” which saw looting and transport vehicles set alight on a “lunatic, hooligan faction driven by far-right ideology”.

Speaking at a press conference this morning, Harris said the “extraordinary” outbreak of violence had given rise to scenes which “have not been seen for decades”.

Thirty-two people were due in court today in the aftermath of the violence which left some police officers injured as they battled to quell the violent mob. Thirteen shops were damaged and 11 Garda cars, three buses and a Luas tram were destroyed.

The violence erupted in the wake of a vicious knife attack on children leaving Cólaiste Mhuire on Parnell Square, a city centre primary school.

A five-year-old girl remains in a critical condition in hospital. Two other children and a woman in her 30s were injured in the incident.

A man in his late 40s, who was detained by passers-by at the scene, was also hospitalised and Gardai have said they are not looking for anyone else in relation to the attack. They said they were keeping an open mind about the motive.

In a statement, Archbishop Dermot Farrell of Dublin described the attack on the children as “horrific” and said he heard the news with “utter disbelief”.

“An attack like this outside a school, involving innocent victims including children, is particularly distressing. There is no way to escape the pain and suffering it has brought to so many people. We do not expect events like this to happen so close to home.”

Archbishop Farrell invited the people of Dublin to join him in praying for the recovery of the injured and their families and all those affected by the “awful attack”, which occurred within walking distance of St Mary’s Pro Cathedral.

The Archbishop also commended the emergency services and the Gardaí for their response to what had happened.

Fr Kevin O’Higgins SJ, who is based in the city centre parish of Gardiner Street Church, described the events on social media. Describing the stabbing attack as horrific, he said the subsequent riots were disgraceful.

“Anyone thinking that the rioters were just random thugs must be very naïve,” he commented.

Fr Conor McDonough said the pupils at the primary school attended the Dominican church in Francis Street to pray and it is where they make their First Communions and are confirmed.

“I can’t stop thinking about the children from the Gaelscoil who experienced terrible, traumatising fear today. It’s all very difficult to process, but what’s clear to me is that none of today's events are reducible to simple ideological explanations,” Fr McDonough, who has been based in the parish for 15 years said on X.

He added, “In our church tonight – in their church – accompanied by the sound of sirens, we prayed for them, for the emergency services, for the people of our parish, old and new, for justice, and for peace.”

On Friday morning, the Tánaiste, Micheál Martin said Irish society should collectively come together to recommit to the fundamental values of difference, dignity and humanity and the fundamental value of decency “which has always been the hallmark of our society”.

Redemptorist Fr Gerry Moloney said, “Unfortunately, social media has dragged many people away from the norms that govern good social behaviour. We saw that yesterday.”

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