Irish police trawl through 6,000 hours of CCTV footage in Dublin riots probe

Justice minister Helen McEntee insists she will not resign over criticism of police response to violence

Jonathan McCambridge
Saturday 25 November 2023 05:18 GMT
Related video: 'Nobody could have anticipated' Dublin violence, says Ireland police chief

Police in Ireland are trawling through 6,000 hours of CCTV footage as a major investigation into riots in Dublin’s city centre continues.

The violence in the Irish capital on Thursday – which involved far-right elements and saw Garda cars, buses and trams set alight and shops looted and damaged – flared after a knife attack on three children and their care assistant outside a school in the north inner city.

There were a small number of arrests on Friday evening as gardai mounted a significant security operation around the O’Connell Street thoroughfare to avoid a repeat of the violent scenes from the night before.

Amid criticism of the Garda response to the riots, government ministers met and heard that legislation to facilitate the use of body-worn cameras by police officers will be fast-tracked.

Justice minister Helen McEntee also told colleagues that officers are trawling 6,000 hours of CCTV footage and vowed that further arrests would follow the 34 already made.

She also insisted that the police force has all the resources necessary to keep people in Dublin safe over the weekend, including securing the use of two water cannons from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

Ms McEntee also rejected a call from Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald for her and Garda commissioner Drew Harris to resign.

She said: “If Sinn Fein wish to debate law and order, if Sinn Fein wish to debate how we can support the gardai, I have no problem in standing over Fine Gael’s record of law and order, Fine Gael’s record of supporting members of An Garda Siochana.

“I do not believe Sinn Fein can stand over their record.”

Ms McDonald said there had been “an unacceptable, unprecedented collapse in policing” and that a problem leading to Thursday’s riot had been “building for months”.

Damage to public infrastructure in Dublin from the disorder could cost tens of millions of euros to repair, Irish premier Leo Varadkar said.

He added that the knife attack and the violence which followed had brought “shame on Ireland”.

A five-year-old girl injured in the knife attack outside a school remained in a critical condition in hospital on Friday while the female care assistant, in her 30s, was in a serious condition.

The two other children, a five-year-old boy and a six-year-old girl, suffered less serious injuries. That girl remained in hospital on Friday but the boy has been discharged.

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

Politicians and police have hailed as heroes members of the public who intervened to halt the attacker at the scene on Parnell Square East, including a Brazilian Deliveroo driver.

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