- 24 Nov 23
The Sinn Féin leader expressed her lack of confidence in the leadership of both the Government and An Garda Síochána following a night of violence in Dublin City Centre yesterday evening.
"We clearly need a change in Goverment, but also a change in leadership of An Garda Síochána," said Ms McDonald, speaking to press outside the Garden of Remembrance.
"This situation has grown, it has been allowed to fester. People for a long time have not felt safe in Dublin City Centre," she continued.
"There has not been a proper response from Government or An Garda Síochána, and that means that those responsible for those failures have to face the consequences of their actions."
"They should resign, both of them," she said, after being asked by reporters if Comissioner Harris and Minsiter McEntee should reconsider their positions following the outbreak of violence in the capital yesterday evening.
@sinnfeinireland leader @MaryLouMcDonald calls for the resignations of Garda Commissioner Drew Harris and Justice Minister Helen McEntee following last night’s riots in Dublin City centre. pic.twitter.com/NRGQ08bYma
— Hot Press (@hotpress) November 24, 2023
Tensions rose after an attack on several people outside the Gaelscoil Choláiste Mhuire children’s school on Parnell Square. A girl (5) and a woman in her 30s were seriously injured in the attack. A six-year-old girl and a five-year-old boy sustained less serious injuries.
The alleged attacker, said to be a man in his 40s, is also being treated at a hosptial in the Dublin area. Gardaí said that they were keeping an 'open mind' as to what was the motive in the attack.
The Sinn Féin leader described the events as "every parent's worst nightmare".
"Gaelscoil Cholaiste Mhuire is a great school," she said. "It's rooted in the community and it will come back from this awful situation even stronger.
"This is a brilliant, diverse community where people really get care about each other and that strong bond will never be broken. I want to commend those courageous members of the public who put themselves in the way of danger to do everything they could to protect the children and prevent further catastrophic harm. Their bravery represents the true spirit of Dublin."
Following the attack was an outbreak of mob violence on O'Connell Street and the surrounding areas, with a reported 13 shops being looted, three buses and one Luas tram being set on fire, and 11 Garda vehicles damaged.
Commissioner Harris said 34 people were arrested in the aftermath, with “many more arrests will follow".
Gardaí clashed with gangs of people, with social media footage showed individual officers being attacked. Numerous Gardaí are reported to have sustained injuries.
"This needs to mark the end, the end of impunity, the end of gangs who believe they can take to the streets and face no consequences," said Ms McDonald.
"This has to be a new beginning for community policing, for people feeling safer, for a proper Garda presence on our streets."
"It also has to be a beginning to resourcing communities properly, investing in young people and bringing out the very best that we can be, rather than falling to the lowest standards and lowest levels of behaviour," she continued.
"What you saw on our streets last night does not represent the people of the inner city of Dublin. It does not represent who our young people are. These are incredible communities, diverse, generous, respectful communities, and our streets were overrun by a hate-filled mob."
Gardaí say this violence was driven by a “lunatic, hooligan faction driven by a far-right ideology” after rioters grathered in the North Inner City shortly after 6pm.