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Riots in Dublin after children and woman injured in knife attack

Irish police responded to the major incident in Parnell Square

Holly Evans,Alex Ross
Thursday 23 November 2023 23:45 GMT
Emergency services at scene of ‘stabbing near school’ in Dublin city centre

Clashes have broken out in Dublin city centre between police and far-right protesters after five people, including three children were stabbed in an “appalling attack” on Thursday afternoon.

The suspected knife attack happened outside a primary school in the bustling Parnell Square East on the north side of the Irish capital shortly after 1.30pm.

A woman in her 30s and a man in his 50s remain in hospital with serious injuries while a five-year-old girl is receiving emergency medical treatment at a children’s hospital in Temple Street.

Another girl, aged six, is being treated for less serious injuries, while a six-year-old boy has been discharged.

A bus and car on fire in Dublin’s city centre after violent protests erupted following a stabbing attack (PA)

At a press conference, police confirmed that a man in his 50s, who is receiving treatment at hospital, has been identified as a “person of interest”. They are currently not searching for anyone else and confirmed they are satisfied that the attack is not terror-related.

On Thursday evening, riots broke out in the city centre with a number of Garda vehicles destroyed, while a tram and bus were set alight. Public transport was suspended while shop windows were smashed, with protesters blocking a bridge with construction signs.

Describing the clashes as “disgraceful scenes”, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said a “complete lunatic faction driven by far-right ideology” was behind the disorder.

Appealing for calm, Irish justice minister Helen McEntee said: “The scenes we are witnessing this evening in our city centre cannot and will not be tolerated.

Police officers tape off Parnell Square East shortly after the incident (Reuters)

“A thuggish and manipulative element must not be allowed use an appalling tragedy to wreak havoc.”

The clashes broke out a few hours after the knife attack, which happened outside to an Irish-medium primary school, Gaelscoil Choláiste Mhuire. Labour Party senator Marie Sherlock saying that children had been queuing for after-school care at the time of the attack.

A witness called Siobhan Kearney told Irish national broadcaster RTE that she saw a man attacking children with a “stabbing motion” before members of the public intervened and took a knife from him.

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A woman told RTE that she saw a man attacking children before several people intervened (Reuters)

“I looked across the road and I see the man and the stabbing motion with a load of children so I flew across the road,” she said.

“The man was after stabbing two children as far as I could make out, and we got the children up to the left with the women that were there, and the teachers I presume.

“People were trying to attack the man so me and an American lady, we formed a ring around the man, and then about three minutes later the ambulance came for the children and then another ambulance and fire officers came for the man on the ground.”

Ms McEntee described the attack as “appalling” and said her thoughts were with “the innocent children and the woman attacked”.

She said: “I have been briefed by the Garda commissioner and will remain in close contact with him and senior gardaí.

Police have been trying to disperse the protesters (PA)
Pictures from the scene of the attack in Parnell Square East (PA)

“This attack has shocked us all, and I have no doubt that the person responsible will be brought to justice. However, my thoughts now are with the innocent children and the woman who have been attacked, their families, and those who are caring for them at this time.”

Leo Varadkar, the prime minister, said: “We are all shocked by the incident which has taken place in Parnell Square. A number of people have been injured, some of them children. Our thoughts and our prayers go out to them and their families.”

Speaking at the scene, Sinn Fein party president Mary-Lou McDonald said children who witnessed what happened have been traumatised.

Sinn Fein president Mary-Lou McDonald said children witnessed the attack (PA)

She said: “I know that the gardai acted very swiftly in this matter, but this is certainly the last thing that any of us expected on a Thursday afternoon where children should come safely from school and be collected by their parents.

“I pray the injured make a full recovery. The community is stunned, stunned and horrified.”

Pictures and video from the scene shared on social media show a heavy presence of emergency services.

A Garda spokesperson said: “Five casualties have been taken to various hospitals in the Dublin region. 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.”

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