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24th Nov 2023

Mary Lou McDonald says she has ‘no confidence’ in Garda Commissioner

Stephen Porzio

Mary Lou

“The idea that this violence was unforeseeable is frankly nonsense,” McDonald said, before also stating her lack of confidence in Justice Minister Helen McEntee.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has said she has “no confidence” in both Garda Commissioner Drew Harris and Justice Minister Helen McEntee following last night’s riots in Dublin.

In the aftermath of the knife attack outside the Gaelscoil Coláiste Mhuire in Parnell Square East yesterday that left three children injured – of which a five-year-old girl remains in critical condition – riots broke out in Dublin city centre.

In the ensuing chaos, three buses, three Garda patrol cars and one Luas tram were set alight, while 13 properties were attacked and substantially damaged.

Speaking about the riots on Friday afternoon, McDonald said after the school attack “It was obvious to most that the atmosphere in the city centre was deteriorating very quickly.”

She added: “As the situation escalated and public safety became a clear issue, we needed a common sense response that ensured that public order and safety were maintained but that is not what we got.

“The cold truth and the reality that we must confront today is that the Gardaí lost control of the centre of our capital city. A mob was allowed to shut down the centre of the city. Public transport locked down. People stranded in the city.

“Members of the public, families and workers terrified in what was a threatening and volatile atmosphere. This was an unacceptable, unprecedented collapse in policing.”

Dublin riots: Mary Lou McDonald says she’s ‘no confidence’ in Garda Commissioner

The Sinn Féin leader also dismissed the idea that the violence was unforeseeable as “frankly nonsense.”

“These hate-filled mobs have threatened and brought violence to our streets before. What happened last night shouldn’t have happened and – let me be very clear – it can never happen again,” McDonald stated.

“The people of Dublin need to know that those in charge of Government and the head of Garda Síochána are capable of ensuring that this never happens again.

“I’ve spoken to Justice Minister Helen McEntee and to Garda Commissioner Drew Harris about the unacceptable failure to keep people safe last night.

“However, we all know the problem didn’t start last night… Sinn Féin has been highlighting the crisis in policing in Dublin city for a long time because we simply don’t have enough Gardaí.

“I do not say the following lightly but it must be said: I have no confidence in how Dublin is being policed.

“The Gardaí have my full and unequivocal support but given the catastrophic operational failures last night, I have no confidence in the Justice Minister and no confidence in the Garda Commissioner.”

Also during her media briefing, McDonald said her thoughts are with the three children and their carer – who was also seriously injured – that were victims of the knife attack.

“We pray and hope that they make a full recovery,” she said, before commending the courageous members of the public who intervened to help stop the attack, stating: “Their bravery represents the true spirit of Dublin.”

Main image via Sasko Lazarov and Sam Boal/Rolling News

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