Irish police chief warns of further disruption by far right after Dublin riot


Ireland’s police chief has warned that far-right radicalisation will continue to disrupt the country after a night of arson, rioting and looting left parts of Dublin resembling a war zone.

The capital was tense but calm on Friday as significant numbers of police remained on the streets and Dublin counted the cost of an anti-immigrant protest that turned into anarchy, leaving the political establishment shocked.

The cleanup began as fresh details emerged of the stabbing attack outside a school that left three children and a carer injured, two of them critically, and the suspect, reportedly a naturalised Irish citizen in his 50s, in custody and requiring medical treatment.

Claims that he was a foreigner spread online soon after the attack, which happened at about 1.30pm on Thursday, and drew a crowd to the scene at Parnell Square in the north inner city, leading to a riot in which 13 shops were looted, a tram and two buses torched, 11 police vehicles damaged, several officers injured – one seriously – and 34 people arrested.

Drew Harris, the Irish police commissioner, said people radicalised by far-right ideology and social media exploited a “terrible crime” to unleash mayhem. “What we saw last night was an extraordinary outbreak of violence. These are scenes that we have not seen in decades,” he told a press conference on Friday. “We have seen an element of radicalisation that is disruptive to our society.”

The scale of the unrest and level of hatred directed at officers would compel a fundamental review of public order tactics, said Harris. “We have to make the assumption that we’ll see further such protests.” More arrests would follow as police study CCTV footage, he said.