Posted on November 24, 2023

‘Hooligans’ Torch Vehicles and Loot Shops in Dublin After School Stabbing Left Girl, Five, and Woman Seriously Hurt

Miriam Kuepper et al., Daily Mail, November 23, 2023

A creche worker who stepped in to prevent a knifeman from attacking children is among those seriously injured following an incident in Dublin on Thursday that saw the city burn as ‘far-right’ rioters took to the streets in anger.

The woman, thought to be in her 30s, was seriously injured after she ran to the aid of a five-year-old girl attacked by a man in his 50s. Sources told Irish national press that her actions may have saved two other children aged five and six from serious harm.

Following the attack outside Gaelscoil Colaiste Mhuire in Parnell Square East, unsubstantiated reports began spreading on social media that the suspect was a foreign national. Anti-immigration protesters then flooded the Irish capital.

In ugly, violent scenes, vehicles were torched and shops including a Foot Locker were looted; a hotel that was alleged to be hosting asylum seekers was also attacked and riot squads were sent in to quell the disturbance.

As of 10pm, gardai say city centre streets are ‘mainly calm’ – but police chiefs and Irish leaders have condemned those who they say allegedly weaponised the attack for ‘reprehensible’ means.

A man thought to be in his 50s who was injured in the attacks is being treated as a person of interest. No statement has been made on the suspect’s nationality – but gardai say they are satisfied the incident is not terror related.

The Irish Independent reports that he is an Irish citizen who, while not born in the country, had lived there for a number of years. Detectives are said to be following a line of inquiry that he may have suffered a ‘psychotic episode’ prior to the attack.

A source told the Irish Independent that the creche worker’s actions may have stopped the other children from suffering more grievous injuries.

They said: ‘She defended those children with all her strength – all that she was doing was trying to protect those little kids and people in what was is a very built up area in the city centre saw what was happening when they passed the school.’

Police chiefs say ‘far-right’ thugs are responsible for the civil unrest that followed; prolific social media accounts associated with the far-right have made as-yet-unsubstantiated claims that the attacker is an ‘immigrant’.

Michael D. Higgins, the president of Ireland, has hit out at rioters, accusing them of weaponising the attacks in a ‘reprehensible’ manner.

He said: ‘All of our thoughts are with each of the children and their families affected by today’s horrific attack outside Gaelscoil Colaiste Mhuire in Dublin city centre.

‘We are particularly thinking of the five year old girl and the member of staff caring for her who are both in serious condition in hospital. All of our prayers are with each of them for a full recovery.

‘The Gardai deserve all of our support in dealing with this incident.

‘This appalling incident is a matter for the Gardai and that it would be used or abused by groups with an agenda that attacks the principle of social inclusion is reprehensible and deserves condemnation by all those who believe in the rule of law and democracy.’

Ireland’s justice minister Helen McEntee described the riots in Dublin as ‘not something we have ever experienced’, saying that the rioters were in the city to ‘create division’.

She added: ‘They do not care about these children who are in hospital. Our focus and our priority should be on making sure that these children are safe, that they make a full recovery.’

Videos circulating on X show people set several police vehicles, a double decker bus and a tram alight and have begun to loot stores, breaking in and stealing armfuls of items.

Riot police were deployed as they faced hundreds of ‘hooligans’ who turned the area around Parnell Square, Parnell Street and O’Connell Street in Dublin into a battleground.

Footage shows furious protesters attacking a man who appears to be a security guard while others shout: ‘Protect our kids.’

Some protesters have been involved in scuffles with gardai while others threw bottles at them, with people chanting: ‘Get them out.’

A video shows a protester throwing a bin bag at Gardai while one man stands in front of the policemen holding his hands up shouting ‘stop’. In the background, a man can be heard pleading: ‘Nah lads, this is not on the f****** poor Gardai.’

Shortly after, an angry mob storms towards the officers, while the man says: ‘The Gardia could get seriously injured. This is horrible.’

A Garda police car on Parnell Street in Dublin was engulfed in flames, but it is unclear whether anyone was injured in the fire. Another fire was burning on the opposite side of the street, while a damaged Luas tram has also been set alight.

Videos show a double decker bus set ablaze on O’Connell Street in the city centre while hundreds of protesters look towards the inferno. Another bus appeared to have been stolen in another video, which shows the bus number 13 being driven away while officers chased after it.

Scenes turned increasingly violent as protesters can be seen kicking and throwing items at police cars. In one video, a crowd of protesters walks in front of a retreating Garda vehicle while someone shouts at people to ‘smash it’.

Parked police cars were set on fire and vandalised, with videos showing rioters jumping on the vehicles as well as banding together to try and turn them over. Footage also shows officers standing in line to block of a street while protesters seem to shoot fireworks towards them.

A Foot Locker store on O’Connell Street was looted by rioters, who used metal bars to smash shop windows before pouring inside. People threw bottles at police on the famous Dublin street.

A Holiday Inn Express hotel in the city centre was targeted by thugs who smashed its windows; the Reuters news agency also reports that a McDonald’s was attacked.

Unsubstantiated reports on social media have suggested that the hotel, on one of Dublin’s key tourist streets, was housing asylum seekers.

Guests were seen peering out of windows on upper floors of the hotel as rioters stood outside at around 7.30pm. MailOnline has contacted Holiday Inn parent company IHG for comment.

In a series of co-ordinated presses, officers dispersed a large portion of the crowd onto nearby roads.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has described ‘disgraceful scenes’ in Dublin on Thursday night as he called for ‘calm heads’ and warned against ‘misinformation’ as violence flared following an attack outside a school.

He said a ‘complete lunatic faction driven by far-right ideology’ is behind disorder in Dublin this evening. He said a number of Garda vehicles have been damaged.

Harris added: ‘I think there’s disgraceful scenes in terms of a major investigation, the maintenance of a scene and the gathering of evidence. We have a complete lunatic hooligan faction driven by far-right ideology, and also then this disruptive tendency engaged in serious violence.

‘We are drafting in resources to deal with that and that will be dealt with properly. I’ve given full direction to our resources here in respect of making arrests and bringing offenders to justice.

‘It’s our responsibility to make sure that we police the streets, and part of that is we ask people to act responsibly and not to listen to the misinformation and rumour that is circulating on social media.

‘The facts are being established, but the facts are still not clear on a lot of the rumour and the innuendo is being spread for malevolent purposes.’

A number of prolific accounts on X, formerly Twitter, have suggested that ‘immigrants’ or ‘migrants’ were to blame for the violence outside a school on Parnell Square East earlier today.

In a statement, Irish justice minister Helen McEntee said: ‘The horrific attack today in Dublin city centre was an appalling crime that has shocked us all.

‘An Garda Siochana are following a definite line of inquiry and are not looking for anyone else regarding this crime. The perpetrator will be brought to justice.

‘However, the scenes we are witnessing this evening in our city centre cannot and will not be tolerated. A thuggish and manipulative element must not be allowed use an appalling tragedy to wreak havoc.

‘I have spoken to local TDs from all sides of the Dail and we are of the same view. We will not tolerate a small number using an appalling incident to spread division.

‘I would appeal for calm in the city centre as An Garda Siochana carry out their work – attacks on members of An Garda Siochana must be utterly condemned and will be dealt with severely.

‘I am meeting the Garda Commissioner this evening to discuss the policing plan in the city tonight. Most importantly, we must remember the real tragedy of today and allow the investigations take their course.’

Witnesses revealed that three children ‘fell to the ground’ one after the other as police have said that a five-year-old girl is receiving emergency medical treatment following the assault.

One of the three children, a girl, and a woman in her 30s suffered ‘serious’ injuries, and a man in his 50s and two other children were also among the injured, police said. All five were taken to hospital.

Police said the man in his 50s, who is receiving treatment for his injuries in Dublin, is currently ‘a person of interest’ and they are not looking for any other person at this time.

Passersby overpowered the assailant outside a school and were able to disarm him, witnesses have said.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar confirmed Gardai have detained a suspect following the incident in Dublin city centre.

‘The kids were out walking. All of a sudden one of them fell to the ground, then another fell to the ground, then another falls to the ground,’ a man who saw the attack unfold told the Irish Independent.

‘Then this guy started running past’, he said, and ‘a load of people jumped on him.’

Following the attacks, a furious row broke on Parnell Street near the site of the stabbings, with a man being accused of ‘defending’ the attacks, with several people outraged by the incident that occurred near a school.

Irish police confirmed a total of five people were injured following the ‘major security’ incident which occurred shortly after 1.30pm on Parnell Square.

Speaking at a press conference in Dublin, Superintendent Liam Geraghty said An Garda Siochana ‘continues to have an open mind at this early stage of the investigation’, but are satisfied there is no terrorist link.

‘This is a very early stage of the investigation which is not even four hours old at this stage, but at this time An Garda Siochana is satisfied from our inquiries that there is no terror-related activity or related to any wider aspects in relation to this matter,’ he said.

‘It would appear to be a standalone attack, and we need to determine the reasons behind that.’

Superintendent Geraghty said his understanding is that a knife was used in the attack, but he could not provide more detail on the nature of the injuries.

He added: ‘An Garda Siochana continue to investigate all of the circumstances of a serious assault which occurred on Parnell Square East shortly after 1.30pm this afternoon.

‘Preliminary indications are that a male attacked a number of people on Parnell Square East. Five casualties have been taken to hospitals in the Dublin region.

‘These casualties include three young children, an adult female and an adult male. One girl, aged five years, has sustained serious injuries and is currently receiving emergency medical treatment in CHI Temple Street.’

One of the three children, a girl, and the woman sustained ‘serious’ injuries in the incident on the square found in the north inner-city of the Irish capital.

The man and the two other children sustained less serious injuries, the Gardai said, which added it had been in contact with the parents of the injured children.

Police said they are following a ‘definite line of inquiry’ and that they were not looking for any other person at this time.

A large knife has been seized from the scene, local reports said.

The incident took place outside Gaelscoil Coláiste Mhuire, a school for primary-aged children. Police are working to establish a motive but do not suspect a terrorist motivation behind the attack, Irish national broadcaster RTE reported.

Several people intervened and disarmed the man, witnesses said.

One said they saw a large knife being taken from the suspect and thrown under trees opposite Rotunda Hospital, which sits in the middle of the square.

Another told how she and another bystander disarmed a man with a knife.

‘Without thinking, I just took across the road to help out,’ Siobhan Kearney said, describing the scene as ‘absolutely bedlam’ to RTE.

‘Two children and the woman were taken back into the school where they were coming from’ as the man was restrained on the ground by several people.

‘Me and an American lady formed a ring around him saying we’d wait on the Garda.’

Kearney said the children were about six years of age, and that she believed the woman who was injured was either a teacher or a bystander.

Other eyewitnesses told the Irish Daily Mail that they saw a young girl ‘around four years of age’ receiving emergency treatment from a passerby.

He said: ‘I saw a young girl with blood all over her and a woman was giving her treatment. There was just chaos everywhere. Everybody was in tears.

‘I can’t imagine what the parents are going through.’

Dublin city councillor Nial Ring said he had spoken to a woman who was on her way to the Stardust inquiry.

He said the woman ‘on seeing the attack confronted the attacker with another man (I understand he was a Deliveroo cyclist) and managed to get the knife off him.

‘Those two citizens are real heroes and probably prevented even more carnage.’

‘Five casualties have been taken to various hospitals in the Dublin region,’ a Garda spokesperson said.

‘The casualties include an adult male, an adult female and three young children.

‘One child, a girl, has sustained serious injuries, the other two children are being treated for less serious injuries.

‘An Garda Siochana is in contact with parents of all three injured children.’

A reporter for RTE at the scene said the street was sealed off, but that parents have been allowed to enter with assistance from Garda to go up to the school to see their children. He said parents were frantic in their efforts to get close.

Superintendent Liam Geraghty said a five-year-old boy and six-year-old girl were treated for less serious injuries after the incident in Dublin.