Dublin erupts after schoolgirl stabbing horror: Thugs clash with police and rioting and looting breaks out as fury over ‘migrants’ grips the city after three children and a woman are stabbed
- Five people were taken to hospital after the attack, including the male suspect
- Violent scenes broke out after police announced a five-year-old girl was being treated for serious injuries. Rumours quickly spread of the man’s nationality
Battles broke out between rioters and police in Dublin last night after three young children were injured in a knife attack by a man outside a school.
Around 100 masked thugs fought running battles with riot cops, looted shops and torched a double-decker bus in anger over the attack, in which two adults were also injured – including a woman and the suspected knifeman.
Police in riot gear stood guard on the streets in the Irish capital as crowds taunted them with chants and set off fireworks, in the worst unrest in the city in years.
Near O’Connell Bridge, over the River Liffey, flames rose from a car and the bus, while crowds broke into stores and looted one of the city’s main shopping streets.
The unrest came after a five-year-old girl sustained serious injuries in a suspected stabbing on Parnell Square East, found in north-central Dublin.
Two other children, as well as the woman and the suspected perpetrator of the attack – were taken to hospital after the incident around 1.30pm. Amid rumours about the attacker’s nationality, some of the mob blamed ‘migrants’ for the incident.
Battles broke out between rioters and police in Dublin last night after three young children were injured in a knife attack by a man outside a school
Around 100 masked thugs fought running battles with riot cops (pictured last night), looted shops and torched a double-decker bus in anger over the attack, in which two adults were also injured – including a woman and the suspected knifeman
Police said over 400 officers including many in riot gear, were deployed in Dublin city centre to contain the unrest on Thursday night
The rumours spread on social media and helped fuel unrest, anger and fear following the attack. Police have only described the person as a man in his fifties.
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
Police chief Drew Harris blamed a ‘complete lunatic faction driven by far-right ideology’ and warned against the spread ‘misinformation’.
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, prompting at least 100 people to take to the streets.
Some were armed with metal bars and covered their faces.
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.
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’.
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.
A bus and car on fire are seen on O’Connell Street in Dublin city centre after violent scenes unfolded following the attack on Parnell Square East where five people were injured, including three young children, Thursday, November 23
Protestors sort through looted goods in Dublin on November 23, 2023
Thugs vandalise a police vehicle before setting it on fire during a riot following a school stabbing that left several children and adults, in Dublin, Ireland, November 23
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.
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 eyewitnesses.
Witnesses described how a man had been disarmed, and Prime Minister Leo 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, 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.’
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,’ Geraghty 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 stands next to a burning police vehicle, near the scene of a suspected stabbing that left few children injured in Dublin, Ireland, November 23
A bus and a car are seen burning in Dublin on Thursday night amid the unrest
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, the father-of-two told of his role in the incident, saying: ‘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.’
Kearney added a group of people restrained the suspect on the ground as some of those injured were taken back inside the school.
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 on Dublin’s on Parnell Square on Thursday afternoon
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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