Dublin riots: 34 arrests made, numerous gardaí injured

Dublin Riots: 34 Arrests Made, Numerous Gardaí Injured
Debris is cleared from a burned out Luas and bus on O'Connell Street. Photo: PA Images
Share this article

Updated: 11am. Additional reporting by PA.

Thirty-four arrests have been made in connection with violent scenes in Dublin city centre overnight.


Rioting broke out in the aftermath of a knife attack at Parnell Square which left five people injured, including three young children.

During the course of the violence on Thursday night, one Garda was seriously injured, with “numerous other members injured”.

Speaking to the media on Friday morning, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris provided an update on the number of arrests and reported injuries.

He also confirmed the children injured in Thursday afternoon's knife attack were pupils of a nearby school, and the injured woman was a teacher.


A burned-out Luas being removed from O'Connell Street. Photo: PA Images

“These (riots) are scenes that we have not seen in decades but what is clear is that people have been radicalised through social media and the internet,” Garda Commissioner Harris said.

“But I don’t want to lose focus on the terrible event in terms of the dreadful assault on schoolchildren and their teacher.

“There’s a full investigation ongoing. There’s also a full investigation in respect of the disorder.”


Gardaí said the arrests made were primarily for public order and theft offences, adding that 32 people are due to appear in court on Friday.

In an update on the destruction caused, Gardaí confirmed 13 properties in the area were "substantially damaged".

The force added that seven vehicles were damaged by fire, including three buses, three Garda patrol cars, and one Luas tram, while eight further Garda vehicles were "extensively damaged".

Over 400 Garda members were deployed in Dublin city on Thursday, including uniformed gardaí and officer from the Mounted Unit, supported by over 250 members of the Garda Public Order Unit.


Speaking separately, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said she expects many further arrests will be made in the coming days.

'Gratuitous thuggery'

Earlier, Gardaí condemned the rioting as “gratuitous thuggery”.

Angry impromptu protests spiralled into a night of violence and disorder as buses, trams and Garda vehicles were damaged and burned, and a number of shops were looted.

There were clashes on O'Connell Street as some demonstrators let off flares and fireworks at Garda Public Order Unit, wearing full riot gear, while others flung chairs and stools grabbed from outside bars and restaurants.


A cordon was set up around Leinster House late on Thursday night, including officers from the Garda Mounted Support Unit, amid concerns the violence may have spread to the area.

Shortly before midnight, Gardaí said calm had been restored in the city.

Garda Commissioner Harris blamed a “complete lunatic faction driven by far-right ideology” for the disorder.

The trouble followed a knife attack at Parnell Square on Thursday afternoon, in which three children, a woman and a man were injured.

A five-year-old girl required emergency treatment for serious injuries, while a five-year-old boy and a six-year-old girl sustained less serious injuries.

A woman aged in her 30s sustained serious injuries.

Dublin city centre incident
A bus on fire on O’Connell Street (Brian Lawless/PA)

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

Initially, the force said they were “satisfied there is no terrorist link” to the stabbings but at an evening press conference, Mr Harris stopped short of definitively ruling out a terrorist motive.

“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.

More than 400 gardaí were involved in efforts to quell the subsequent evening of disorder in the streets near the scene of the attack.

Garda Chief Superintendent Patrick McMenamin said some garda members had been attacked and assaulted.


He said no serious injuries had been reported by gardaí or members of the public.

Mr McMenamin said the thoughts of the police service were with the victims of the assault in Parnell Square on Thursday afternoon.

Speaking about the riot, he said: “The violence had nothing whatsoever to do with a serious assault which occurred this afternoon on Parnell Square, it was gratuitous thuggery.”

President Michael D Higgins said his thoughts were with those injured in the stabbing.

He said: “This appalling incident is a matter for the gardaí and that it would be used or abused by groups with an agenda that attacks the principle of social inclusion is reprehensible and deserves condemnation by all those who believe in the rule of law and democracy.”

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee labelled the scenes of disorder “intolerable” and said a “thuggish and manipulative element must not be allowed to use an appalling tragedy to wreak havoc”.

“We will not tolerate a small number using an appalling incident to spread division,” she said.

Earlier, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste Micheál Martin extended their thoughts to those injured in the stabbing attack.

The Garda Public Order Unit was deployed near the crime scene cordon around Parnell Square and O’Connell Street around 6.30pm as protesters started to scuffle with officers and flares and fireworks were thrown at the Garda line.

As the violence escalated, a Garda car was set alight, a Luas tram and several buses on O’Connell Street were set on fire, and a bus and car were torched on O’Connell Bridge.

Rioters looted a number of shops in the area, causing significant damage to a number of businesses. As the violence escalated on Thursday evening, some businesses in the inner city took the decision to close early.

In a series of co-ordinated presses, gardaí dispersed a large portion of the crowd onto nearby roads.

Smoke from bus and car fires filled the air while a Garda helicopter monitored the situation from overhead.

Dublin Fire Brigade responded to the fires that broke out.

Gardaí on O’Connell Street. Photo: Collins

Speaking to media at Mountjoy Garda station on Thursday evening, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris called for calm and spoke out against the spreading of misinformation.

He said some individuals were using a tragic event “for their own ends… and a hooligan faction who are only interested in causing damage and mayhem in the city centre and they’re using the opportunity for that as well”.

“I think there’s disgraceful scenes in terms of a major investigation, the maintenance of a scene and the gathering of evidence.

“We have a complete lunatic hooligan faction driven by far-right ideology, and also then this disruptive tendency engaged in serious violence.”


Clean-up efforts were already underway on Friday morning, as public transport links to the city centre resumed in time for the morning commute.

Dublin Fire Brigade said firefighters were continuing to dampen down smouldering vehicles in the city centre on Friday morning, adding a recovery and clean-up operation is underway.

The Rotunda Maternity Hospital, which is located on Parnell Square, said it is fully operational and providing normal levels of service.

Patients with appointments or in need of urgent medical attention are advised to attend the hospital as normal.

The hospital also commended the work of staff who responded to the attack on Parnell Square, and those who "remained on site overnight while An Garda Síochána brought a difficult situation under control".

In a statement issued on Friday morning, An Post said the General Post Office (GPO) on O'Connell Street will reopen to business from 12pm "to allow time for the clean-up operation in the city centre and the resumption of public transport for customers and staff".

Brown Thomas and Arnotts chief executive Donald McDonald confirmed a group ransacked "limited parts" of the Arnotts store on Henry Street.

Videos circulating on social media showed the group breaking into the store via its entrance on Middle Abbey Street.

Mr McDonald said the store had closed a short time earlier due to the riots, adding: "Thankfully nobody was hurt in the events that unfolded at Arnotts and all our team members and customers, while shaken, are safe."

Gardaí said a number of road closures remain in effect in the city centre. O'Connell Street northbound is closed, while the southbound lane is open to traffic from Cathal Brugha Street. Parnell Square East remains closed, as is Capel Street.

Having cancelled services throughout the night, Dublin Bus confirmed all services are operating once again.

"Buses cannot serve the Quays in both directions, O’Connell Street, and from Westmoreland Street to Abbey Street. All northbound services are diverting via Fleet Street and Townsend Street. All southbound services are diverting via Gardiner Street," an update from Dublin Bus said.

Red line Luas services are only operating between Tallaght/Saggart and Smithfield, with no services between Smithfield and Connolly/The Point. Green line services are operating between Brides Glen to St Stephen's Green, with no services between the Green and Broombridge.

The transport operator confirmed Luas tickets will be accepted on Dublin Bus services for the duration of the disruption.

Tara Street Station has also reopened following a brief closure on Thursday night due to the riots, with Irish Rail adding that all trains are operating on all routes on Friday.


Gardaí have begun a formal investigation "into all of the circumstances of the violent disorder and public order events" on Thursday night.

An incident room at Store Street Garda station has been established and a Senior Investigating Officer has been appointed to the matter.

Investigating officers are now in the process of collating and harvesting CCTV and material from social media concerning the riots.

"An Garda Síochána appeals to any person with any information on the events last night or has any information on persons organising or involved in yesterday’s events to contact the Garda investigation team," the force said.

The investigation team can be contacted at Store Street station on 01-666 8000, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800-666 111, or any Garda station.

Read More

Message submitting... Thank you for waiting.

Want us to email you top stories each lunch time?

Download our Apps
© BreakingNews.ie 2024, developed by Square1 and powered by PublisherPlus.com