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Dublin archbishop responds to stabbing of 3 children that sparked violent riots

Flames rise from the car and a bus, set alight at the junction of Bachelors Walk and the O’Connell Bridge, in Dublin on Nov. 23, 2023, as people took to the streets following the stabbings earlier in the day. / Credit: Peter Murphy/AFP via Getty Images

Rome Newsroom, Nov 24, 2023 / 06:40 am (CNA).

The archbishop of Dublin responded with shock to the “horrific attack” in which three children were stabbed on Thursday afternoon, sparking a night of violent riots in the Irish capital.

Archbishop Dermot Farrell asked people to join him in praying for the injured, which includes a 5-year-old girl who sustained serious injuries, two other school children, and two adults.

“It was with utter disbelief that I heard the news of the horrific attack on Parnell Square here in Dublin. An attack like this outside a school, involving innocent victims including children, is particularly distressing,” Farrell wrote in a statement posted to social media on Nov. 23.

“I invite the people of Dublin to join me in praying especially for the recovery of those who have been injured. Grant them strength to endure this awful attack, and grant each of us the grace to live our lives in holiness, free from all violence.”

The Catholic archbishop’s call for non-violence on Thursday night came as riots erupted across Dublin’s city center.

A double decker bus was set on fire, stores looted, windows smashed, and cars torched as about 100 rioters took to the streets, some armed with metal bars, according to the Associated Press.

Dublin’s Police Commissioner Drew Harris said that he believes that the riots were “driven by far-right ideology.”

Irish police arrested 34 people in Dublin who took part in the riots and detained a man in his late 40s whom they identified as a “person of interest” in the investigation into the knife attack without releasing any other details about his identity other than that he sustained serious injuries. The police said that they were not looking for any other suspect and had not ruled out any motive for the attack, including terrorism.

The knife attack took place in front of the Gaelscoil Coláiste Mhuire primary school in Parnell Square as students were coming out of school.

On Friday morning, Irish police said that a 5-year-old girl remains in “critical condition” in the Temple Street children’s hospital and a woman in her 30s, believed to be a school employee, who intervened to try to stop the attack, remains in “serious condition.”

Another injured 6-year-old girl is being treated for less serious injuries, while a 5-year-old boy has been discharged from the hospital.

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