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Parnell Square

Garda Commissioner condemns 'lunatic hooligan faction' behind riot scenes in Dublin city

Crowds have confronted gardaí in the streets around Parnell Square East this evening.
  • Follow developments from Dublin City Centre live here.

GARDA COMMISSIONER DREW Harris has condemned what he described as a “complete, lunatic hooligan faction” driving violence against gardaí in Dublin city centre this evening.

Crowds have confronted gardaí in the streets around Parnell Square East this evening – throwing bottles, bags of rubbish and other missiles at police as public order officers were deployed. Fireworks were also let off at officers. 

Footage on social media this evening shows multiple instances of gardaí being attacked. Now shops in the city centre are being broken into, and their contents looted.

A bus and a Luas have been set on fire and no Dublin Bus routes are serving Parnell Square East or O’Connell Street.

All Luas services has since been stopped as a result of the rioting in the city.

“We have a complete, lunatic hooligan faction driven by far-right ideology and also this destructive tendency here to engage in serious violence,” Harris said in a briefing to reporters.

“We are drafting in resources to deal with that and that will be dealt with properly.”

Footage online shows multiple cars – including garda cars – have been damaged or set alight in tonight’s violence. 

Harris said: “I understand a number of Garda vehicles have been damaged. 

He added: “But in respect of arrests and injuries, I can’t give details at this moment.”

It comes after five people, including three children, were injured in a stabbing outside a school today on Parnell Square East.

One of the children – a little girl – is receiving emergency medical treatment tonight. A boy and girl aged five and six received less serious injuries – the boy has since been discharged from hospital.

An adult male who was injured is believed to be the attacker. Gardaí have described him as a person of interest and have said they are not looking for anyone else.  

Garda Superintendent Liam Geraghty said earlier that investigators were satisfied there was no terror-related activity. Gardaí have not commented on the man’s nationality. 

“It’s our responsibility to make sure that we police the streets and part of that is we ask people to act responsibly, not to listen to the misinformation and rumour that is circulating on social media,” Harris said this evening.

“The facts are being established, but the facts are still not clear and a lot of the rumour and innuendo is being spread for malevolent purposes.”

The motive for the attack earlier today, he said, was “entirely unclear”. 

Dublin Bus and Luas services have been disrupted amid the scenes of violence in the city tonight. 

In the immediate aftermath of the attack, onlookers at the cordon shouted abuse at gardaí, blocked traffic from passing through and erected tri-colours. Others shouted anti-government sentiments.

The group that gathered earlier this evening – consisted of 30 to 40 people. Garda sources estimate crowds in excess of 200 have gathered in Dublin tonight – including those engaged in violence and onlookers. 

Early this evening some stood in front of buses on Parnell Street and northbound O’Connell Street at the Parnell Monument. Others also blocked a Luas as it turned onto Parnell Street, before the tram was forced to reverse.

A number of gardaí stood watching the crowd, forming a line inside the cordon that fenced off the scene of today’s attack.

“You should be f*cking ashamed of yourselves,” one man shouted earlier at the cordon.

“They’re not the worst, it’s the politicians,” another yelled. Another shouted Ashling Murphy’s name at gardaí. 

A tricolour was draped across the front of one of the stopped buses.

On the scenes of unrest, Garda Superintendent Liam Geraghty said:

“We are aware that people are concerned about what has happened today. Our message is that this, we believe, was a standalone incident. It wasn’t connected to wider issues… we’d ask people not to jump to conclusions or make assumptions.”

With reporting by Nicky Ryan and Eimer McAuley and Daragh Brophy