- author, Aoife Moore and Eimear Flanagan
- role, BBC News NI
- Rally held in support of migrant workers in Ireland following last week’s riots in the capital
- The violence erupted last Thursday, just hours after three children and a staff member were stabbed outside a school in the city centre.
- Ireland’s police chief blamed the riots on “crazy hooligans driven by far-right ideology”
- One union leader said the violence had left some migrant workers “very scared.”
More than 500 people took part in a solidarity rally in Dublin, days after riots broke out in the city center following knife attacks on children.
The rally was organized by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), which represents more than 800,000 workers across Ireland.
ICTU General Secretary Owen Reidy said the aim of the event was to show people of immigrant backgrounds that they were welcome in Ireland.
He said many migrant workers employed in Dublin’s hospitality industry were “too scared to come to work” the day after the riots.
“I would like to say that Ireland is not full,” Mr Reidy told BBC News NI.
“We want to support an ‘Ireland for everyone’. We want a diverse Ireland.
“Whether you live or work in Dublin, whether you were born here or in the four corners of the earth, this is your home.
“This is an attack on a community, and they are part of our community.”
The violence began on Thursday evening, just hours after three children and a school child care assistant were stabbed outside a primary school in Parnell Square.
Children were queuing after class at Gaelscoil Cholaiste Muire when they were attacked by a man with a knife.
Two girls, ages 5 and 6, and a 6-year-old boy were stabbed.
A woman in her 30s, a care assistant, tried to protect the children, but she was also stabbed and seriously injured.
She remains in the hospital along with a five-year-old girl who was seriously injured.
The suspect is believed to be in his late 40s and has held Irish citizenship for approximately 20 years.
He was also taken to the hospital after the attack.
The mob took to the streets hours after the stabbing, attacking gardaí, setting vehicles on fire and breaking into shops and looting stock.
Approximately 500 people were involved in the violence, and the Garda (Ireland’s police force) launched one of the largest response to a security incident ever.
Several gardaí were injured, a Luas tram was destroyed and three buses were set ablaze.
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris blamed the riot on a “crazy gang of hooligans driven by far-right ideology”.
Following the riot, opposition leader Mary Lou McDonald of Sinn Féin criticized Harris’ view that the riots were unforeseen.
Mr McDonald has called on the Chief Secretary and Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee, to resign.
On Monday, Mr Harris and Mr McEntee were invited to the Oireachtas (Irish Parliament) justice committee on Wednesday to discuss the riots.
Irish broadcaster RTÉ reported that Ms Entee said she was happy to appear before the committee, but due to prior commitments she would not be able to attend on the requested date.
Hundreds of union members attended Monday’s rally, along with representatives from several political parties, including Sinn Féin, People Before Profit and the Labor Party.
Mr Reidy also praised the emergency services, local government staff, health service staff and media who were on duty during Thursday night’s riot.
“As a trade union movement on the island of Ireland, we last Thursday night saw people living and working in Dublin come together symbolically to stand up for the workers who are being harmed. We thought it was important to create a space to show unity,” Reidy said.
“So we’re talking about the Gardai, we’re talking about the Dublin Fire Brigade, we’re talking about the media people, we’re talking about the bus workers, we’re talking about the Luas (tram) workers.
“We also know that retail workers, local government workers and especially many hospitality workers with immigrant backgrounds who were very concerned about the next day’s cleaning. I know.”