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IMMINENT WARNING: DUBLIN RESIDENTS ON ALERT AFTER KNIFE ATTACK AND ENSUING RIOTS CAUSE DISRUPTIONS

November 23, 2023

Dan Flanagan, Gabriel Helupka

Elena Alice Rossetti, Alya Fathia Fitri, Editor; Evan Beachler, Senior Editor


Dublin, Ireland[1]


Event: In central Dublin, violent protests broke out after a knife attack in Parnell Square East left three children and a woman injured. An injured man in his 40s[2] or 50s[3] is the “person of interest” in the police investigation into the stabbing, according to Dublin police after his arrest.[4] According to sources, the suspect has lived in Ireland for 20 years, and his ethnicity is unknown. Irish police say there are no other subjects under investigation. Drew Harris, head of the Garda (Irish police), blamed the violence on a "lunatic, hooligan faction driven by a far-right ideology".[5] Rioters burned a double-decker bus, halted public transportation, and smashed windows at a Holiday Inn Hotel and McDonald's.[6] As of 0002 local time, Garda said the city was starting to calm, and 400 officers continued to patrol. Garda Chief Superintendent Patrick McMenamin said rioters assaulted officers (Gardai).[7]


Immigration to Ireland rose to its second-highest level in 2023, numbering 77,600, with most immigrants arriving from Ukraine. Immigration and birth rates have increased Ireland’s population to 5.3 million and put pressure on the country’s housing markets, leading to record levels of homelessness.[8] Ireland is seeing an increase in far-right anti-immigrant movements. Niall McConnell, the leader of the Irish Nationalist Catholic Party, stated that “The indigenous Irish are being racially discriminated against” and criticized Ireland’s immigration policies.[9]


Significance:

Far-right Irish organizations will almost certainly capitalize on the stabbing incident. They will very likely exploit the incident as a justification for increasing protests and calls for the government to restrict immigration flows. Protestors will very likely ask the Irish government to take concrete steps toward addressing immigrant policies, likely amplifying the social media campaigns. Far-right Irish organizations will likely use social media platforms to spread disinformation and propaganda over the stabbing. These organizations will likely use these methods to portray immigrant communities as a threat to Irish culture. Social media users will very likely speculate on the perpetrator’s ethnicity, likely applying it as a tactic to call for immigrant reforms amid a heightened global threat environment. Public transportation in Dublin will very likely coordinate with Garda on resuming transportation services, with a roughly even chance of alternative routes or delays occurring over the next few days. Disruptions to traffic and businesses are likely as Garda maintains a heightened security posture around central Dublin. Subsequent anti-immigration protests will very likely indiscriminately target police officers and public properties perceived as harboring immigrants, likely becoming violent against Gardai attempting to de-escalate. The Irish government will very likely counter far-right propaganda attacking immigrant communities through anti-disinformation campaigns, likely believing the attack is an isolated event. There is a roughly even chance they will announce protections for immigrant communities, likely seeking to avoid accusations of favoring immigrant communities from far-right groups. The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) will very likely increase patrols in urban centers. There is a roughly even chance that dissident republican groups will react violently to an increased police presence. Dissident republican groups will likely see their presence as a Good Friday Agreement violation.


Recommendations

  • The Counterterrorism Group (CTG) recommends that local law enforcement remain on high alert and continue increased patrols in Dublin. Law enforcement should maintain awareness in the event of far-right or Irish dissident republican organizations using the riots as an infiltration tactic to mount attacks on police officers.

  • CTG recommends that parents discuss the attack with their children and provide them with a safe environment to voice their thoughts and concerns. Parents should ensure that children remain in safe environments while the risk of unrest remains possible.

  • CTG recommends that citizens and people traveling in Dublin follow Garda updates and maintain awareness. Foreign nationals should contact their embassy officials if they believe they are in potential danger.

  • CTG recommends that social media users remain vigilant of commentary on the events that may spread false or misleading information on the attacks, riots, or the suspect’s background. CTG recommends fact-checking information through unbiased local news sources and An Garda Síochána.

  • If there is any additional and or critical information please contact us at The Counterterrorism Group (CTG) by Telephone 202-643-2848 or email info@counterterrorismgroup.com

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[1] Dublin by Google Maps

[2] Dublin riot sees clashes with police after five hurt in stabbings, BBC, November 2023, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-67512002

[3] Violent clashes break out in Dublin after knife attack that injured 3 children, one seriously, ABC News, November 2023, https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/3-children-woman-injured-ireland-suspected-stabbing-person-105126966

[4] Ibid

[5] Dublin riot sees clashes with police after five hurt in stabbings, BBC, November 2023, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-67512002

[7] Dublin riots: Violent clashes with gardaí and vehicles set alight after children injured in knife attack, The Irish Times, November 2023, https://www.irishtimes.com/crime-law/2023/11/23/dublin-stabbing-attack-live-updates-three-children-injured-chief-suspect-detained/

[8] Irish net migration rises at near record levels, Reuters, September 2023, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/irish-net-migration-rises-near-record-levels-2023-09-25/

[9] 'Keep Ireland Irish': Say hello to Ireland's growing far right, Euronews, March 2023, https://www.euronews.com/2023/03/13/keep-ireland-irish-say-hello-to-irelands-growing-far-right

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