Violent clashes in Dublin after three children injured in suspected stabbing

A five-year-old girl was seriously injured in a knife attack in Dublin that also saw a woman and two other young children hospitalized.

November 23, 2023 09:17 pm | Updated November 24, 2023 09:45 am IST - LONDON

A bus on fire on O’Connell Street after violent scenes unfolded in Dublin city center following a knife attack.

A bus on fire on O’Connell Street after violent scenes unfolded in Dublin city center following a knife attack. | Photo Credit: AP

Violent clashes broke out in central Dublin on Thursday evening after a five-year-old girl was seriously injured in a knife attack earlier in the day that also saw a woman and two other young children hospitalized.

Irish police said the girl was receiving emergency medical treatment in a Dublin hospital following the attack outside a school. Soon after that announcement, at least 100 people took to the streets, some armed with metal bars and covering their faces.

Police said over 400 officers including many in riot gear, were deployed in Dublin city center to contain the unrest, which they said was “caused by a small group of thugs.”

Police with shields fended off people attempting to kick and punch them while flares and fireworks were fired at the police cordon around the scene of the incident. A number of police vehicles and a tram were damaged during the disorder, while a bus and car were also set on fire on the city’s O’Connell Bridge.

Police officers work near the scene of a suspected stabbing that left few children injured in Dublin, Ireland.

Police officers work near the scene of a suspected stabbing that left few children injured in Dublin, Ireland. | Photo Credit: Reuters

Shop windows were routinely smashed and a Foot Locker store was looted. All transport in the city was suspended.

“We have a complete lunatic hooligan faction driven by far-right ideology, and also then this disruptive tendency engaged in serious violence,” said Ireland’s top police officer, Drew Harris.

Police and politicians called for calm and warned against misinformation over the attack earlier in the day.

“The scenes we are witnessing this evening in our city center cannot and will not be tolerated,” said Justice Minister Helen McEntee. “A thuggish and manipulative element must not be allowed to use an appalling tragedy to wreak havoc.”

Earlier, 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.”

A woman in her 30s also suffered serious injuries during the knife attack shortly after 1:30 p.m. The two other children, a 5-year-old boy and a 6-year-old girl, sustained less serious injuries. and the boy was discharged from a hospital,

Geraghty said at a media briefing that preliminary indications are that a man attacked a number of people on Parnell Square East.

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.

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