Buses and police car set on fire in 'far-right' riot erupts Dublin after 3 children among 5 hurt in knife attack

23 November 2023, 22:17 | Updated: 24 November 2023, 00:17

Bus and car on fire in Dublin riots after knife attack

By Kit Heren

Two buses and a police car were set on fire in a riot in Dublin driven by 'far-right hooligans' that broke out following a stabbing attack in which five people were hurt, including three children.

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Rioters set off flairs and fireworks at police and a Garda (Irish police) car was set on fire near to the scene in Parnell Square.

Two double-decker buses have also been set on fire, as well as a tram. Crowds clashed with police, as officers with riot shields held back the crowds. Shops were looted as the mob ran wild on Thursday evening.

The city centre was returned to a scene closer to normal by the early hours of Friday morning, authorities said.

More than 400 Irish police officers were involved in the height of the response. Garda Chief Superintendent Patrick McMenamin said some members of the police force had been attacked, but none had been seriously hurt.

The head of the Garda blamed a "complete lunatic" faction of the far-right and blamed disinformation for the chaos.

A bus and car on fire on O'Connell Street in Dublin city centre
A bus and car on fire on O'Connell Street in Dublin city centre. Picture: Alamy

Earlier, two girls and a boy aged six or under were hurt in the knife frenzy near Parnell Square on the city's north side, while a woman in her 30s was seriously injured when she tried stop stop the attack.

A man in his 50s, who was said to have intervened too, is seriously hurt too.

The boy has been discharged while the two girls will remain in hospital overnight.

A suspect has been arrested in connection with the attacks, and police have said they are not treating the attack as terror-related.

They said that they are not "ruling out any motive".

Irish Justice Minister Helen McEntee called for calm and said the riots were being led by "thuggish and manipulative elements".

She said: "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.

"Most importantly, we must remember the real tragedy of today and allow the investigations take their course."

A police vehicle was torched in the riot
A police vehicle was torched in the riot. Picture: Alamy

The suspect was treated at the scene for injuries believed to be self-inflicted and is in hospital with a stab wound after being detained.

A large knife was seized at the scene.

Rumours spread on social media that the attacker was a migrant. That had not been confirmed by authorities at all by Thursday evening.

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But after the stabbing, which happened earlier on Thursday afternoon, disorder broke out and officers with riot shields deployed to the city centre.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said other Garda vehicles had been damaged.

"I think there's disgraceful scenes in terms of a major investigation, the maintenance of a scene and the gathering of evidence," he said.

"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 riot broke out in Dublin
A riot broke out in Dublin. Picture: Alamy

Leo Varadkar, the Irish taoiseach, said: "The facts in this matter are still emerging.

"The emergency services responded very quickly and were on site within minutes. I thank them for that."

Reports said the injured woman was a carer for the children and worked at their creche.

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The attack happened on Thursday afternoon close to the Irish language school Gaelscoil Choláiste Mhuire.

A motive for the attack has not yet been established but the Irish police said they are following a definite line of inquiry.

One eyewitness told the Irish Mirror: “It was just complete and utter pandemonium - it was horrific. There was a female nurse administering chest compressions to the little child.”

A resident told Dublin Live: “I'm devastated, I can't believe what is going on in this town. My daughter was going by and seen a little child, she can't get the little child's face out of her mind. All the parents are devastated. We can't believe it.”

A Garda spokesman said: "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.

Rioters have clashed with police in Dublin
Rioters have clashed with police in Dublin. Picture: Alamy

"One girl aged five has sustained serious injuries and is currently receiving emergency medical treatment in CHI Temple Street.

"A boy aged five and a girl aged six years, who received less serious injuries were brought to CHI Crumlin for treatment. The boy has since been discharged from CHI Crumlin.

"An Garda Síochána is providing support to the children's parents.

"The adult female in her 30s is being treated for serious injuries at the Mater Hospital.

"An adult male in his 50s is also being treated for serious injuries at a hospital in the Dublin Region.

"The scene remains sealed off at this time and a technical examination of the scene is ongoing.

"An incident room has been established at Mountjoy Garda Station and a Senior Investigating Officer has been appointed.

"An Garda Síochána is following a definite line of inquiry. The male in his 50s is a person of interest in this investigation. An Garda Síochána is not looking for any other person at this time."

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