Violent protests have erupted in Ireland‘s capital, Dublin, after four people including three young children were injured in a suspected knife attack.
Crowds of protesters clashed with police in the city centre on Thursday hours after a five-year-old girl and a woman in her 30s were seriously injured in the attack outside a school in Dublin. Police said they were receiving emergency treatment.
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Two other children, a five-year-old boy and a six-year-old girl, suffered less serious injuries. The boy has been discharged from hospital. According to Irish broadcaster RTE, the woman works at the school and cares for the children.
A man in his 50s was detained in relation to the incident, and was also hospitalised with serious injuries.
Police said in a statement they were “following a definite line of inquiry” and were “not looking for any other person at this time”.
“I’m very strongly satisfied from our inquiries that there is no terror-related activity,” Superintendent Liam Geraghty told reporters after the attack, adding: “It would appear to be a standalone attack.”
Ireland’s police chief Drew Harris later told the media that “all lines of inquiry” were open to determine the motive.
“I never ruled out any possible motive for this attack,” Harris said.
Protesters clash with police
Later in the evening, RTE reported that clashes had broken out between police and protesters.
The broadcaster reported that a police car and a bus had been set on fire in the centre of the city, and that some people had broken into a footwear store and were seen running away with items.
Police chief Harris condemned “disgraceful scenes” and blamed a “complete lunatic faction driven by far-right ideology” for the disorder, warning against the spread of “misinformation”.
Irish media and witnesses reported that a man armed with a knife had stabbed the victims outside the primary school shortly after 1:30pm (13:30 GMT).
Siobhan Kearney, who witnessed the stabbing incident, said the scene was “absolutely bedlam” as she initially watched events unfold from the other side of the street.
“Without thinking, I just took across the road to help out,” she told Irish national broadcaster RTE.
“We got another young man, disarmed [the attacker] with the knife, another man took the knife and put it away for the [police] to find it.”
Kearney said a group of people restrained the suspect on the ground, as some of those injured were taken back inside the school.
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said he was shocked by the incident.
“The emergency services responded very quickly and were on site within minutes. I thank them for that,” he said in a statement.
“Gardai have detained a suspect and are following a definite line of inquiry.”
Local lawmaker Aodhan O Riordain, of the Irish Labour Party, said the incident was “disturbing”.
“Understand an individual has been detained. Hope injuries are not serious but it will be extremely traumatising regardless for all involved,” he wrote on X.
Mary Lou McDonald, leader of the Sinn Fein opposition party, said she was “horrified” by what had happened.
“There is shock throughout the community. I have just spoken to the Principal of Gaelscoil Choláiste Mhuire and relayed my support to the school community,” she said in a statement.
“I want to send my solidarity to the families of those attacked. As a parent, I can only imagine what they are going through right now,” she added, praising the police for their swift response.