- 27 Nov 23
"That Thursday was more than anything I could imagine" says Dublin Bike Shop worker after store front was smashed on Thursday night during the Dublin Riots
In the wake of the Dublin Riots, it is easy to fall into a state of despair but that would be to ignore the support and community that has emerged in response the abhorrent violence on Thursday night. One such glimmer was the response of Dubliners to Bike Stop, a Capel Street staple and collateral from the riots.
Workers at Bike Stop realised pretty early on that the Capel Street shop was being looted, "At twenty past nine". The staff were speedy at their response, taking less than 10 minutes to reach the scene, but it still wasn't enough; "We were here at twenty six minutes past nine and they were already gone".
One worker at Bike Stop agreed to speak to Hot Press but did not want to have his identity revealed in the wake of the anti-immigration sentiment that has swept the city: "We're more conscious now. Certain areas of Dublin you'll be more on the lookout now, especially after hours".
"It seems back to normal, but I am sure people are much more aware".
The worker continued saying: "I live with a guy from India, he's been here working and paying his taxes for 8 years. He said he was on the bus the other day and he wasn't attacked but he was harassed. People were saying 'hey can I touch you'. Because of his skin tone.
So now he's not taking public transport anymore. I have never heard of that before".
"The shop was in bits. They took a good bit of stock including customers bikes being repaired. So it wasn't just our own bikes, we had customers coming in to collect their serviced bikes. It's not just our losses".
In spite of this incident, the unnamed worker has described the response from the public as "Extreme" - "in a good way!", he quickly clarifies.
People quickly stepped up to help and offer whatever help they could, and willingly: "Throughout Friday we were getting food, coffee and millions of handshakes".
Indeed, the good will received by Bike Stop was not only in person support, but also a wave of digital support with the owner Cliff's niece Julia setting up a gofundme for the shop, which currently sits at €10,000.
The gofundme campaign was bolstered and supported through Julia's Twitter, which led to a surge of support from Dubliners familiar with the shop, to strangers on the internet who just wanted to help out.
And it wasn't just a financial boost received by Bike Stop in the wake of the damage, but also messages of supports.
"A lot of Facebook and Instagram posts came in with people sending us positive messages", which is heartening to hear, as one doesn't have to spend too much time on the internet to come across vitriolic and trolling messages in the digisphere.
"Since Friday onwards it's been fantastic. It's been one bad day and three great ones."
However although Bike Stop workers are positive in the short term, there is still an air of sombreness about the future of retailers, and what Thursday nights events could mean for Dublin 1.
It will definitely have an impact on Christmas - a lot of people don't want to go back to the city, they'll go shopping in Dundrum or Blanch".
There is an easy natural compulsion to lock ourselves in- buckle down for the winter, batten the hatches and indulge in some online shopping. But that would be to let the riotous mob and thuggery of Thursday night win. The best way to police our streets and to make everyone safe, is to frequent them, through our footfall and support of smaller businesses.
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