‘My son’s care worker stepped in front of a knife for him’: Father of boy, six, reveals how Dublin hero protected his child and other kids by ‘wrestling’ armed man who attacked them in the street – as fundraiser for brave woman hits £160,000
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A father has revealed how a heroic nursery worker suffered serious injuries in Dublin after she ‘stepped in front’ of a crazed knifeman to protect his son and a group of terrified children.
Garrett FitzGerald said his son, six, was one of the youngsters heading to an after-school event in Parnell Square East when a knifeman started stabbing people on Thursday.
The bloody rampage left three children hurt and the school worker injured – and triggered a wave of violent riots in Dublin on Friday evening.
Garrett said the heroic woman’s intervention helped save the children’s lives, allowing the youngsters crucial time to escape the carnage.
A five-year-old girl and woman in her 30s were last night still in a critical condition at hospital following the stabbing spree. Two other children, a five-year-old boy and a six-year-old girl were less seriously wounded.
The suspect, is a man in his 50s, is also being treated in hospital and is in a serious condition.
Posting on X – formerly Twitter, he wrote: ‘My son’s care worker stepped in front of a knife for him and the other kids. She wrestled the guy long enough to allow the other kids to run away and for help to arrive. Words fail me.
Do YOU know the heroic creche worker? Email [email protected]
Garrett FitzGerald Father of boy, 6 has told of the ‘absolute hero’ creche worker who saved children’s lives from knife attack during the Dublin riot
Emergency services are pictured at the scene of the attack in Dublin
The stabbing spree triggered a wave of rioting in Dublin, with people torching vehicles
‘She’s an absolute hero. A friend has started a GoFundMe for herself and the school. If anyone wanted to throw a few lids here it would much appreciated.’
The fundraising campaign has drummed up more than £160,000 so far.
Started by Paul McIntyre, it states that it is looking to raise funds to ‘support the children and the carer in Gaelscoil Colaiste Mhuire who were victims of a horrific attack at their school… by a stranger with a knife as the children were leaving school to be collected by their parents’.
It adds: ‘This is a small Gaelscoil (all Irish school) in the heart of Dublin City Centre and is almost like a small family and this attack has shocked parents, students and the whole school staff to their core and your help and support would be greatly appreciated at this time.
‘This should be the most special time of year for all children and at the school they are currently practicing for their Christmas school play and your help and donations will assist the school in making this year as special as possible for the children and staff that have been impacted by this terrible event.
‘I would also like to raise funds to support the carer who bravely put herself in front of so many children so they could run to safety while putting her own life at risk.’
Paul added: ‘Having known this lady for many years and having two children attend this school, I can say this lady is nothing short of a superhero tonight and we will be forever grateful for her and wish her a speedy recovery from her injuries.
‘Unfortunately due to her significant injuries she will now be out of work for the foreseeable future and we would love to be able to support her in her time of need like she did for the children so bravely.’
Garrett added: ‘She was one of many heroes yesterday including passers-by who intervened, first responders and the children themselves.
‘Our thoughts and prayers are with those still in hospital and anyone who has been affected by this awful tragedy.’
Police are pictured at the scene following the carnage on Thursday afternoon
A police cordon is in place after the stabbing attack which left a child and woman seriously hurt
A thread of tweets from Garrett recounting the woman’s heroic efforts
Dublin’s ‘night of shame’ was condemned by Ireland’s Prime Minister this morning as a clean-up operation got underway following battles between rioters and police.
Around 500 thugs fought running battles with riot cops, looted shops and torched a double-decker bus in anger over an attack in which three children and two adults – a woman in her 30s and the suspected knifeman – were injured on Thursday.
Pictures from the Irish capital this morning showed council workers removing the wrecks of burned-out buses and cars, which were torched by the thugs as they rampaged through the streets and looted shops.
The smell of burning plastic and rubber still hung thick in the air on Dublin’s O’Connell Street, where a tram was also set on fire by the rioters, reports said.
In an update this morning, police said 34 people had been arrested over their suspected involvement in the violence which, officials said, was driven by a ‘complete lunatic faction driven by far-right ideology’.
One Garda officer received a serious injury, with ‘numerous other members injured’ as missiles were thrown at them. Ireland’s Justice Minister said anyone found guilty of attacking officers faces up to 12 years in prison under ‘very strong legislation’.
Meanwhile, a man described only as being in his fifties is suspected over the initial attack, which was carried out at 1.30pm outside a school on Dublin’s Parnell Square East, in the north-centre of the city.
One of the children – a five-year-old girl, and the woman – said to be a teacher or care assistant, are both in a critical condition, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said.
A clean-up operation was underway this morning after battles broke out between rioters and police in Dublin last night following an knife attack on young children
Workers clean up debris of a burnt train and vehicles. A double-decker bus was also set alight
Workers inspect a vandalised Luas tram with smashed windows on O’Connell Street in Dublin
The riots came last night after three children were injured in a knife attack outside a school
Around 100 masked thugs fought running battles with riot cops, looted shops and set fire to vehicles in anger over the attack where a woman in her 30s was also injuried
Police said over 400 officers were deployed to contain the unrest on Thursday night
People were told to work from home today as clean up continues in the city cenre
He said those involved in the riots ‘brought shame on Dublin, brought shame on Ireland and brought shame on their families and themselves’.
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris told reporters this morning that no arrest has been made over the knife attack but a suspect has been identified. He added it was ‘disgraceful’ that Garda inquiries were disrupted by the riots in Dublin.
The violence was fuelled by rumours about the attacker’s nationality. Some of the mob blamed ‘migrants’ for the stabbing incident on the square.
Mr Varadkar said his government would take immediate steps to tighten anti-hate legislation he said was unfit for the social media age.
‘As a country we need to reclaim Ireland. We need to take it away from the cowerers who hide behind masks and try to terrify us with their violence,’ He said.
‘We need to reclaim Ireland from the unscrupulous who prey on the fears of those easily led into darkness. And we need to reclaim Ireland from the criminals who seek any excuse to unleash horror on our streets,’ he said in an emotional statement.
Police chief Drew Harris blamed the riots on a ‘complete lunatic faction driven by far-Right ideology’ and warned against the spread ‘misinformation’.
READ MORE: ‘I smashed Dublin knifeman in his head with my helmet. He went down’: Hero Brazilian Deliveroo rider tells how he ended school bloodbath
This morning, he defended the police’s response, saying ‘Garda responded to this entirely in an extraordinary fashion’ during a press conference.
‘Public order units from all over Ireland responded here to Dublin. More and more resources were arriving throughout the evening,’ he said.
‘But we could not have anticipated that in response to a terrible crime, the stabbing of school children and their teacher, that this would be the response.
‘In effect, those filled with hate – and the hate directed to the members of Garda Síochána – that they would attempt to storm through our cordon and disrupt a crime scene, and then engage in violence, looting and disorder, including very significant criminal damage.
‘Nobody could have anticipated that, when these events started at 1.30am – these awful events – and obviously we were concentrated on the investigation. We couldn’t have anticipated that this would be the reaction,’ he added.
Meanwhile, pictures from Dublin today showed the city’s best-known thoroughfare, O’Connell Street, dominated by the charred remains of burnt-out vehicles.
These are being removed, as well as debris on the streets and shattered glass, following attacks on some shops and looting.
The chaos in Ireland’s capital began at around 1.30pm on Thursday, when a man attacked a group of young children outside the Gaelscoil Choláiste Mhuire which sits on Parnell Square.
Witnesses said three children ‘fell to the ground’ one after the other and that a woman, believed to be a teacher or care assistant, was also attacked.
A five-year-old girl, one of three that were attacked, was left seriously injured. Irish police said the girl was receiving emergency medical treatment in a Dublin hospital.
This update from the police prompted at least 100 people to take to the streets, some armed with metal bars and their faces covered.
Others carried signs reading ‘Irish Lives Matter’ and waved Irish flags through a neighbourhood home to a large immigrant community.
One protester told AFP that ‘Irish people are being attacked by these scum’.
Police said over 400 officers including many in riot gear, were deployed in Dublin city centre to contain the unrest.
A police cordon was also set up around the Irish Parliament building, Leinster House, and officers from the Mounted Support Unit were in nearby Grafton Street.
A number of police vehicles and a tram were also damaged during the disorder.
Shop windows were routinely smashed and a Foot Locker store was looted. All public transport in the city – trams and buses – was suspended and many firms have urged their staff to work from home on Friday.
By late evening, Police Chief Superintendent Patrick McMenamin said calm had been restored and no serious injuries were reported. ‘It was gratuitous thuggery,’ he said.
Ireland has been facing a chronic housing crisis, with the government estimating that there is a deficit of hundreds of thousands of homes for the general population.
Widespread dissatisfaction has fed into a backlash against asylum seekers and refugees, and far-right figures have promoted anti-immigration sentiment at rallies and on social media with claims that ‘Ireland is full’.
People walk past the damaged entrance to a Foot Locker shop after it was looted last night
A worker gestures as people stand in front of a Holiday Inn Express that was damaged
Deliveroo driver Caio Benicio stopped the knife attacker by hitting him with his helmet
A bus and car on fire are seen on O’Connell Street after violent scenes unfolded following the attack on Parnell Square East where five people were injured
Protesters sort through looted goods from Foot Locker as the mass on the streets last night
Thugs with masks and their hoods pulled up vandalise a police vehicle before setting it on fire
A bus is seen burning in central Dublin last night amid the riots
A man records a destroyed car and a burning bus in Dublin last night amid the riots
Gardai carrying shields and batons clash with hooded rioters on the streets of Dublin
Police officers stand guard to protect the scene of the stabbing outside a school
Justice Minister Helen McEntee said the scenes in the city centre, including attacks on police, ‘cannot and will not be tolerated’ and promised to take action.
‘A thuggish and manipulative element must not be allowed to use an appalling tragedy to wreak havoc,’ she said, calling for calm.
Irish mixed martial artist Conor McGregor waded into the row, criticising the response from the police and the authorities on X (formerly Twitter).
He added: ‘God bless those attacked today, we pray.’
Thursday’s incident, which police initially said was not thought to be terror-related, involved a man armed with a knife stabbing victims outside the school, according to media and witnesses.
Those at the scene described how a man had been disarmed, and Prime Minister Mr Varadkar said a suspect had been arrested.
Superintendent Liam Geraghty later told media that ‘a young girl aged five years has sustained serious injuries’ and was receiving emergency medical treatment.
A five-year-old boy and a six-year-old girl sustained less serious wounds and the boy had since been discharged, he added.
The woman in her 30s – reported by some news outlets to be a creche worker – was being treated for serious injuries in hospital. Reports said she put herself between the knifeman and his innocent targets.
Police said a man in his 50s, who also was seriously injured, is a ‘person of interest’ in their investigation. No other details about his identity were revealed.
At a press briefing in the evening, Mr Harris was asked about a potential terrorist link, and he didn’t rule it out.
‘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.
That appeared to be a slight change in stance from earlier, when Superintendent Liam Geraghty said police were keeping an open mind in terms of the investigation but were ‘satisfied there is no terrorist link’.
He said that police believe that it was ‘a standalone incident, not necessarily connected to any wider issues that are ongoing in the country or in the city, and we need to identify the exact reasons for that happening’.
Mr Geraghty confirmed earlier witness reports that a knife was used in the attack, but he couldn’t provide more details on the nature of the injuries. He also confirmed that witnesses sought to disarm the man as soon as they saw what was going on.
‘My understanding is members of the public did intervene at a very, very early stage and we would applaud those members of the public for getting involved in such a traumatic and potentially dangerous situation for themselves,’ he said.
Last night, a Deliveroo driver told how he saw the knifeman stabbing innocent children – and so battered him to the ground with his helmet.
Riot police stand next to a burning police vehicle. Over 400 officers were deployed to the riot
Brazil-born Caio Benicio, 43, was hailed as a hero for ending the bloodbath.
Last night father-of-two Mr Benicio told of his role in the incident.
In a voice message he sent to his friends, he said: ‘I saw the guy pulling the teacher, picking up the child. I stopped to see what was happening, I thought it was a normal fight.’
But then, the attacker pulled a knife.
‘Man, I threw the bike on the ground and went after the guy… I didn’t even think about it,’ he said. ‘I took off my helmet and hit the helmet on his head, which knocked the guy down.’
Speaking to The Journal, he added: ‘I didn’t even make a decision, it was pure instinct, and it was all over in seconds. He fell to the ground, I didn’t see where knife went, and other people stepped in.’
He said his thoughts are with the five-year-old girl. ‘I am praying,’ he said, ‘It’s all I am thinking of. I saw her in the ambulance, she looked so vulnerable. I had to go with Gardai then. I am waiting for news about her. I am hoping.’
Siobhan Kearney, who witnessed the attack, said the scene was ‘absolutely bedlam’ as she initially watched events unfold from the other side of the street.
‘Without thinking, I just took across the road to help out,’ she told Irish national broadcaster RTE.
‘We got another young man, disarmed [the attacker] with the knife. Another man took the knife and put it away for the [police] to find it.’
Ms Kearney added a group of people restrained the suspect on the ground as some of those injured were taken back inside the school.
Mr Varadkar said he was shocked by the incident.
‘The emergency services responded very quickly and were on site within minutes. I thank them for that,’ he said in a statement.
‘Gardai [Ireland’s national police] have detained a suspect and are following a definite line of inquiry.’
EU chief Ursula von der Leyen said she was ‘shocked’ by the ‘brutal attack’.
Three children and a woman, as well as the suspected attacker, were all injured in the incident
Police vehicles park near the scene of the stabbing outside a school in Parnell Square East
Local lawmaker Aodhan O Riordain of the Irish Labour Party said the incident was ‘disturbing’.
‘Hope injuries are not serious but it will [be] extremely traumatising regardless for all involved,’ he wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
Mary Lou McDonald, leader of the Sinn Fein opposition party, said she was ‘horrified’ by what had happened.
‘I want to send my solidarity to the families of those attacked. As a parent, I can only imagine what they are going through right now,’ she said.
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