James Bacon on Dublin Riot

James Bacon was in centre city Dublin yesterday when a riot broke out; File 770 asked him what happened.  


Dublin has had a shocking day yesterday, with an appalling knife attack on school children followed by a protest by racists that degenerated into a full blown riot with looting by malevolent youths spurned on by right wingers. 

I had arranged to meet some friends and spend some time going around comic shops and then relaxing and enjoying a coffee. I visited the city centre comic shops, Sub City and Dublin City Comics and went to Wigwam to meet comic writer Stephen Walsh and we all variously enjoyed chat, tea, coffee and a cider.  The talk ranged from war comics to fanzines and was good. 

Sadly about this time an attack occurred where a man stabbed a young girl of five years of age then stabbed two more children and a carer while they were lined up outside their school, Gael Scoil Colaiste Mhuire on Parnell Square in the city centre. I understand that an Irish lady and an American lady saw what was happening intervened and helped to restrain the man, who is an Irish citizen, here 20 years.  There’s no details on the why, but the young girl is badly injured and of course, thoughts are with all of them. The man was arrested.  

Oblivious to this, Stephen and Pádraig went home and myself and a pal walked over to Forbidden Planet. 

The knife attack, an appallingly terrible thing was meanwhile maliciously used as a  catalyst for a racist protest organised by people  described by the head of An Garda Síochána Commisioner Drew Harris as “a complete lunatic faction driven by far-right ideology”. 

Continuing in ignorance of what was unfolding we walked over to Hapenny Bridge and into Forbidden Planet. 

As matters became clear to the management and staff that the situation was escalating, prompt action was taken. Kevin the manager and his team went around the shop as most customers like ourselves were totally unaware of what was going on outside, and we were calmly warned of the situation, informed of where to avoid and the threat to safety shared.

Kevin the manager and his team at Forbidden Planet Dublin were kind and considerate, and took an impressive stance, thoughtful and caring. They calmly ensured awareness and encouraged comic buyers to get home safely. There were offers of walking folks home if required. 

Really nice in what are exceptionally unusual circumstances and difficulties.

This prompt, preventative and proactive action was wise, as a very short time later, matters escalated to unprecedented levels of violence and destruction as the situation deteriorated and buses, a tram and police cars were set on fire in what has been the worst rioting to be seen in Dublin, in my lifetime, at least.

As our thoughts go to those poor unfortunate children and carer who were attacked, a sense of gratitude with the feeling of real community thoughtfulness comes from the actions of Kevin and staff at Forbidden Planet International Dublin.

Update: Further reports point to a Brazilian deleveroo driver who intervened: “’I used my helmet as a weapon to stop him’: Brazilian Deliveroo rider intervened in knife attack at school on Parnell Square” in The Irish Times.

A Brazilian Deliveroo rider who intervened in the knife attack outside a school on Parnell Square on Thursday said he “didn’t think twice” before acting.

Caio Benício (43) has two children, and when he realised it was an attack, he dismounted and hit the suspect on the head with his motorcycle helmet.

Mr Benício said he was still in shock on Friday to see the riots that took to Dublin streets last night and said: “It does not make sense at all. I know the protest involved anti-migrant groups. And I, as a migrant, was the one that helped to hold back the assailant.”

11 thoughts on “James Bacon on Dublin Riot

  1. Oh dear God.

    I’m so sorry, and so glad you and your friends got home safely.

    It’s not surprising, but very disappointing, that racists would use it as an excuse to push their agenda.

  2. Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

  3. Startled to see an image of Cassidy’s Hotel in this write-up. I stayed there for several days after going to an Irish National Convention in Dún Laoghaire in the 1990s. (that town, ironically, had been named Kingstown until Irish independence, in the 1920s.)

  4. A GoFundMe to “Buy Caio Benicio a Pint” (the Deliveroo rider who stopped the attack) has raised just under €350,000 by Saturday night.
    It was rather disconcerting to read online of all the streets cordoned off because of the riot, since I’ve been visiting Dublin off-and-on since 1982 and recognise most of them and know them quite well (the site of the attack is only a few minutes’ walk from the hotel I usually stay at in Dublin).

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  6. With respect, James, not all of the protestors can be labelled “racists” or “right wingers”. You cannot be unaware of the growing disquiet amongst many Irish communities regarding significant levels of immigration during a major housing crisis. Eire, after all, only has a population just above five million, and the recent influx reportedly contains a high proportion of young men with a markedly different attitude towards women and young girls. Leo Varadkar’s refusal to debate the issue, but instead to fire slurs against any who disagree with his administration’s policies (reminiscent of his stance during the Covid crisis), is certainly not helping matters. Whilst none of this excuses violence, intimidation and other criminality, a large number of people have genuine concerns which will not disappear simply because politicians turn a deaf ear towards them.

  7. With respect, James, not all of the protestors can be labelled “racists” or “right wingers”

    I think the ones who rampaged through the streets slashing and burning were hardly expressing their worry at the overpopulation of Ireland (still not back to the pre-Famine total of nine millions, I believe), or concerned for the possible indifference of some immigrants to women’s issues.
    Also I really really don’t think that the housing crisis is due to Ukrainian refugees driving up the price of rentals in Dublin by snapping up swanky flats at double the rent they were going to five years ago.

  8. @Anna Feruglio Dal Dan: “I think the ones who rampaged through the streets slashing and burning were hardly expressing their worry at the overpopulation of Ireland (still not back to the pre-Famine total of nine millions, I believe), or concerned for the possible indifference of some immigrants to women’s issues.
    Also I really really don’t think that the housing crisis is due to Ukrainian refugees driving up the price of rentals in Dublin by snapping up swanky flats at double the rent they were going to five years ago.”

    I won’t be arguing with those statements, not least because neither accurately reflects my comments above. (The pre-Famine population was largely rural, btw, so comparisons with the current urban concentration are of arguable relevance.)

  9. @Steve Green–When I read this,

    With respect, James, not all of the protestors can be labelled “racists” or “right wingers”. You cannot be unaware of the growing disquiet amongst many Irish communities regarding significant levels of immigration during a major housing crisis. Eire, after all, only has a population just above five million, and the recent influx reportedly contains a high proportion of young men with a markedly different attitude towards women and young girls.

    My immediate reaction was that you sound just like any other racist trying to wrap his ugly views on respectability. “Those People,” you see, are just not like us…”

    Indeed. Caio Benício, the immigrant who intervened to stop the initial attack, is certainly not like the attackers, or the rioting, looting, young thugs seduced by the racist right wing.

    From your non-response to Anna:

    (The pre-Famine population was largely rural, btw, so comparisons with the current urban concentration are of arguable relevance.)

    It takes fewer people to fill up the land under rural conditions than under urban concentrations. Ireland could sustain 9 million as an agricultural country, until the potato blight struck. Even then, a rational response from Ireland’s British rulers (starting with, stopping the export of food from Ireland, pay the landlords for it and feed the peasants, and scrap the Corn Laws rather than suspend them late, reluctantly, and for a short time), could have limited the damage even then.

    Ireland now, with major cities, and population of only a bit over 5 million, certainly has space for, and possibly need of, immigrants.

  10. It sickens me to see that MAGA ideology is spreading to other parts of the world. How despicable that the initial attack was on children. It appears that the perp was influenced by Hamas too.

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