34 arrests made after rioting in Dublin following school knife attack

Ireland's prime minister says he will use the full power of the law after "grotesque" violence erupted in Dublin, following a stabbing in the capital, as ITV News' Louise Scott reports


Police arrested 34 people after “huge destruction by a riotous mob” in Dublin, the head of Garda Siochana has said.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said one Garda officer received a serious injury, with “numerous other members injured” as missiles were thrown at them.

He said 13 shops have been significantly damaged or subjected to looting and 11 Garda cars were damaged during the chaotic scenes in the aftermath of a knife attack which left three young children and a woman injured.

Thirty two people are to appear before court in the city on Friday.

Impromptu protests in the aftermath of Thursday afternoon’s attack outside a school in Parnell Square East in the north inner city spiraled into a night of violence and disorder as buses, trams and at least one Garda vehicle were burned and shops were looted on one of Dublin’s most famous thoroughfares, O’Connell Street.

There were clashes with riot police as some demonstrators let off flares and fireworks, while others flung chairs and stools grabbed from outside bars and restaurants.

A police cordon was set up around the Irish parliament building, Leinster House, late on Thursday night with officers from the Garda Mounted Support Unit in nearby Grafton Street, amid concerns the violence may have spread to the seat of Ireland’s democratic institutions.

Shortly before midnight, Garda said calm had been restored in the city.

On Thursday Mr Harris blamed a “complete lunatic faction driven by far-right ideology” for the disorder.

The trouble came after three children and a woman who was caring for them were stabbed close to Irish language medium primary school Gaelscoil Cholaiste Mhuire on Thursday.

A five-year-old girl is in a “critical condition”, while a woman, aged in her 30s, is in a “serious condition," Irish police confirmed.

The two other children, a five-year-old boy and a six-year-old girl, suffered less serious injuries.

A bus was set on fire on O’Connell Street in Dublin city centre after violent scenes unfolded following an attack on Parnell Square East Credit: Brian Lawless/PA

Garda said a man who sustained serious injuries at the scene is a person of interest in their investigation.

Initially, Garda said they were “satisfied there is no terrorist link” to the stabbings but at an evening press conference, Mr Harris stopped short of definitively ruling out a terrorist motive.

“I have never ruled out any possible motive for this attack… all lines of inquiry are open to determine the motive for this attack,” he said.

More than 400 Garda were involved in efforts to quell the subsequent evening of disorder in nearby streets.

Garda Chief Superintendent Patrick McMenamin said some members of the force had been attacked and assaulted.

He said no serious injuries had been reported by Garda or members of the public.

Mr McMenamin said the thoughts of the police service were with the victims of the assault in Parnell Square earlier in the day.

Speaking about the riot, he said: “The violence had nothing whatsoever to do with a serious assault which occurred this afternoon on Parnell Square, it was gratuitous thuggery.”

Irish President Michael D Higgins said his thoughts were with those injured in the stabbing.

He said: “This appalling incident is a matter for the Gardaí 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.”

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the attacks "brought shame to our society and disgrace to those involved and incredible pain to those caught up in the violence.“

He added: "I want to say to a nation that is unsettled and afraid, this is not who we are, this is not where we want to be, and this is not who we will ever be.”

The scene in Dublin city centre after five people were injured, including three young children Credit: Brian Lawless/PA

 “Those involved brought shame on Dublin, brought shame on Ireland and brought shame on their families and themselves.

"These criminals did not do what they did because they love Ireland. They did not do what they did because they wanted to protect Irish people. They did not do it out of any sense of patriotism, however warped.

"They did so because they’re filled with hate, they love violence, they love chaos and they love causing pain to others," he continued.

A Garda public order unit was deployed near the crime scene cordon around Parnell Square and O’Connell Street around 6.30pm as protesters started to scuffle with officers and flares and fireworks were thrown at the Garda line.

As the violence escalated, a Garda car was set alight, a Luas tram and several buses on O’Connell Street were set on fire, and a bus and car were torched on O’Connell Bridge.

Rioters looted Foot Locker and Asics shops in O’Connell Street, as well as Arnott’s department store in nearby Henry Street, as bottles were thrown at Garda in the landmark street.

Speaking to media at Mountjoy Garda Station on Thursday evening, Commissioner Harris called for calm and spoke out against the spreading of misinformation.

He said some individuals were using a tragic event “for their own ends… and a hooligan faction who are only interested in causing damage and mayhem in the city centre and they’re using the opportunity for that as well”.

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