Dublin riots: Taoiseach receives mixed messages on 'far-right thugs' and 'uncontrolled immigration'

Dublin Riots: Taoiseach Receives Mixed Messages On 'Far-Right Thugs' And 'Uncontrolled Immigration'
The riots broke out on the evening of Thursday, November 23rd, following a knife attack on Parnell Square in which a number of people were injured. Photo: PA Images
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James Cox

Public messages to the Taoiseach in the wake of the Dublin riots ranged from people calling for more action to be taken against "far-right thugs", others criticising the Government's "uncontrolled immigration policy", and calls for more support for gardaí.

The riots broke out on the evening of Thursday, November 23rd, following a knife attack that saw a young girl seriously injured.


A Luas tram, Dublin Bus and Garda car were burnt and shops were looted as chaos engulfed the capital for most of the evening.

The public reaction to what happened has been one of disgust, and business owners in Dublin say they are still impacted by the riots.

Messages to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, seen by BreakingNews.ie following a Freedom of Information request, show a mixed reaction.

One email, sent at 11.51pm on the night of the riots, with Tánaiste Micheál Martin cc'd, called for changes in Ireland's judicial system.


The person also said gardaí need more support.

No wonder gardaí are quitting.

"People running around, stealing, and assaulting gardaí. I could hardly watch it. No wonder gardaí are quitting.

"Right now the feeling is that you have to commit murder to get any sentence worth talking about in Ireland. You have to deal with sentencing and give gardaí proper tools to fight thugs and cowards."


They signed off: "You have to, for all our sakes."

Of 24 emails and letters released under the FOI request, about half blamed "far-right thugs", while the other half were more critical of government policies on immigration.

One, sent on Friday, November 24th, called the riots the "attempted mass murder in Dublin yesterday".

The author said they had previously been a Fine Gael voter, but blamed Mr Varadkar for the riots.


"This is the result of YOUR [sic] policies and YOUR failure to see where this open border/unlimited illegal immigration policy would lead.

"You have overseen a policy that overloads a small community and provided no extra resources or assistance to these communities. You have allowed a situation to develop where certain groups are taking advantage of this to push their extreme agendas."

Another writer, from Co Kilkenny, with the subject line 'FAR RIGHT SCUM', said they had spent the evening online trying to help people find refuge from the violence with contacts in Dublin.

"The FAR RIGHT is a small enough but significant group of bad-faith actors who have been allowed to stir up hate, fear and distrust in this country for the past number of years unchecked.


"People calling for violence against immigrants.

"You better deal with this properly, or this will only be the start. I do actually wish you well in sorting it out."

A bus on fire on O'Connell Street in Dublin city centre. Photo: Thursday, November 23rd, 2023.

One person, who said he is a Polish man who has worked in Ireland for years, said "social benefits and political correctness" were the root causes of the riots.

One message called for a more organised approach to identify and prosecute far-right groups who coordinated the riots online.

"Last night we saw the best and worst of Ireland. A passerby who came to the rescue of young children and their carer as a violent individual attacked them with a knife. They are the best of humanity, Irish and migrant.

"Look at the local far-right activists and their cheerleaders online to see who was coordinating this taking off. Look at external far-right actors chiming in to stoke the violence (do we really need British far-right thought here?)

"The role of social media companies also needs to be put under the microscope for facilitating the dynamic nature of the attack in Dublin city.

"Those who were violent and looted must not rest easy in the days ahead, arrests need to be coming their way."

Two days after the riots, one email called for the resignation of Minister for Justice Helen McEntee. Sinn Féin tabled an unsuccessful motion of no confidence in Ms McEntee following the violence.

They used the stabbing as an excuse to cause mayhem.

"What happened on Thursday night is a national disgrace and the Justice Minister is soft on crime, letting Dublin city get out of control. For six hours, thugs run amok. No police with batons or water cannons. Dublin city safe... what a laugh. Helen McEntee needs to resign, she is out of her depth."

Another email that morning had the opposite view on Sinn Féin's motion.

Engagement with communities needed to stop 'far-ri...
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"Sinn Féin is wrong in their criticism of government and gardaí. The Government needs to concentrate their efforts on bringing these thugs to justice."

Another person said "thugs" had used the knife attack in Dublin as an excuse to cause trouble.

"The scenes in central Dublin were carried out by criminals who have no respect for gardaí or authority. They used the stabbing as an excuse to cause mayhem.

"I am beside myself with rage that gardaí did not fight with force and hammer these thugs. They put their lives at risk, and do not have the appropriate resources to defend themselves or, indeed, members of the public."

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