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Justice Minister Helen McEntee speaking in the Dáil this evening Oireachtas TV
Parnell Square

Justice Minister seeks to reassure parents of Parnell Square school and says gardaí are present

Social Democrats TD Gary Gannon said there was not ‘one garda present on Parnell Square’ today.

THE JUSTICE MINISTER has said supporting pupils, parents, and staff of Gaelscoil Choláiste Mhuire is her “absolute priority” and added that “garda members are present” at the school.

A five-year-old girl injured in the stabbing incident on Parnell Square last Thursday remains in a critical condition in hospital.

A woman in her 30s also remains in a serious condition.

Justice Minister Helen McEntee was speaking in the Dáil during statements on policing, protests and public order following rioting that broke out in Dublin City last week.

She was responding to Social Democrats TD Gary Gannon, who said there was not “one garda present on Parnell Square” today.

“I was to reassure Deputy Gary Gannon, but also any families and those in the school, that garda members are present, that liaison officers are in engaged with the school and the creche.”

During his statement in the Dáil, Gannon said his “phone started to blow at around 2.45pm today” because parents collecting children from the school saw “a person lying on the steps at the ground where that vicious assault happened last week”.

“There was a person intoxicated and had urinated upon himself and there wasn’t a garda present,” added Gannon.

He said this was “despite the fact that the school principal had been promised there would be a consistent garda presence on that street over the course of the next week and months”.

“What sort of callous disregard from the State is that towards those children who have experienced the most incredible trauma that none of us could even comprehend,” said Gannon.

He added that the school community “deserve an apology” and described the incident as “unforgivable”.

Minister McEntee later responded to say that “in relation to an incident today, there was communication and contact with the gardaí immediately and a response happened immediately”.

She added: “It is really important for those school children that there is normality, and having a garda member present and stationed directly outside the school at all times is not a way that we return to normal.

“To reassure people, there is a garda presence on the ground and that will be maintained.”

Gannon had also told the Dáil that the “feedback from parents as of today is that they feel disregarded”.

“The experience today is simply unacceptable,” said Gannon. “An apology should be forthcoming.”

He also criticised Minister McEntee for saying “no further scenes of chaos unfolded” over the weekend and referenced an incident on Talbot Street on Sunday which resulted in a man being hospitalised.

Video clips being circulated of the incident show multiple people receiving blows, and one person being stabbed in the abdomen area. 

“It was literally just across the road from where you had your publicity stunt with the commissioner during the summer to prove that those streets were safe,” said Gannon.

Gannon also claimed that there “is a lawlessness and a lack of control in the city”.

“Protect our city, that’s all we’re asking, for you to do your job,” Gannon told the Dáil.

“More gardaí on the street, it’s no more complex that than, and the school deserves an apology for what happened today. “