Published25 minutes ago
A five-year-old girl and a woman in her 30s have been seriously injured and three other people hurt in a knife attack in Dublin city centre.
Another girl, six, and a five-year-old boy were also stabbed outside the children’s school shortly after 13:40 local time on Parnell Square East.
There were violent scenes near where the attack took place after crowds of protesters gathered in the area.
A man in his 40s is a person of interest, police said.
He is being treated for serious injuries. The police said they were not looking for any other people at this time and are following a definite line of inquiry.
On Thursday evening, officers used riot shields and batons after the crowd had gathered, while a number of police vehicles have been damaged.
Taoiseach (prime minister) Leo Varadkar said extra police resources had been deployed.
Garda (police) Commissioner Drew Harris blamed the violence on a “lunatic, hooligan faction” who engaged in violence as police tried to maintain the crime scene.
“We ask people to act responsibly, not to listen to misinformation and rumour that is circulating on social media,” he told reporters.
“We know what happened, but the motive for this is entirely unclear.”
In a press conference earlier, Supt Liam Geraghty said that the girl is receiving emergency care in hospital, while another girl, aged six, and a five-year-old boy were less seriously hurt.
He added that although it is early in the investigation, gardaí are confident that there is “no terror-related activity” and that it would appear to be a “standalone attack”.
Mr Varadkar said he had been “shocked” by the incident and “the facts in this matter are still emerging”.
Police said the incident happened outside the children’s school, Gaelscoil Choláiste Mhuire.
The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) said: “Our hearts are with the entire school community of Gaelscoil Choláiste Mhuire following the horrendous incident that has taken place today.
“We are thinking of the children, their families and the school’s staff during this unimaginably difficult time.”
An eyewitness told RTÉ how she and another bystander disarmed a man with a knife.
Siobhan Kearney described the scene as “absolutely bedlam”.
“Without thinking, I just took across the road to help out,” she said.
“Two children and the woman were taken back into the school where they were coming from.”
On the man with the knife, she said that he was on the ground and there were a lot of people trying to restrain him.
“Me and an American lady formed a ring around him saying we’d wait on the garda (police).”
She said that the ambulance came first within three or four minutes and all the emergency services were there in five minutes.
The area has been sealed off and been declared a crime scene.
In a statement, the Irish Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said she was “deeply shocked by the appalling attack”.
She added that her thoughts are with those injured, especially with the children, their parents and families, during “this extremely difficult period”.
Sinn Féin leader and Dublin Central TD (member of the Irish parliament) Mary Lou McDonald said the incident had sent “shock and horror throughout the community”.
“My heart goes out to all the hurt and injured, the parents, teachers but especially the children who have been so traumatised,” she added.
Labour Party senator Marie Sherlock, who was in the area after the incident, said the children who were stabbed were queueing up to go to after-school care when they were attacked.
“While it is all very real today, I think the impact of the trauma tomorrow, next week and in the time after is really going to be very difficult.”
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