Gardaí conduct search, seize phone and laptop of suspect for Dublin child stabbing

Girl (5) stabbed in chest remains in serious condition, childcare teacher (30s) also seriously injured after using her body as a shield to save children in her care

Gardaí investigating the stabbing attack on children in Dublin city centre have searched the accommodation of the chief suspect in the case.

The man’s laptop and telephone have also been seized for searching as gardaí try to establish a motive for the attack.

The suspect, who is in his late 40s and is a naturalised Irish citizen, has lived at different addresses around Dublin.

Gardaí believe he is a single man with no children in Ireland, where he has lived for about two decades. As the motive for the attack, at about 1.30pm on Thursday on Parnell Square East, has not been established, gardaí have not ruled out a mental health episode or a terror-related link.


Garda sources said the suspect for the stabbing at lunchtime in Parnell Square East was seen loitering in the area and when children were being brought into an aftercare centre, he lashed out at them with a knife. He stabbed a five-year-old girl in the chest and an aftercare worker was also stabbed as she attempted to use her body to shield the children from the attack.

Two other children, a boy aged five and a six-year-old girl, were also injured and taken to Crumlin children’s hospital. The boy was treated and quickly discharged while the girl remains in hospital.

The five-year-old girl who was stabbed in the chest has undergone emergency surgery at Temple Street hospital and remains in a serious condition while the injured woman is also in a serious condition in the Mater hospital.

Gardaí believe the attacker was intent on murder and would have killed or injured more people but for passersby intervening. They included a Brazilian courier, who was in the area in a moped, who used his motorcycle helmet to hit the attacker and force him to the ground, bringing an end to the attack.

The suspect remains under armed guard in a Dublin hospital, where he is being treated for his injuries. While he had not been arrested, he is due to be detained for questioning when deemed well enough and is the only suspect in the case.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said on Friday morning he understood the child who was most seriously injured remained in “a very serious condition” while “her teacher is also in a very serious condition”.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar described the girl and her teacher as being in “a critical condition still”.

“The care assistant used her body to prevent other children from being injured,” the Taoiseach added. “The person who carried out this attack was intent on murder, that is clear. I don’t want to speculate on motive at this stage, but absolutely nothing is ruled out in that regard. I really want to thank the people on the street who intervened.”

After the rioting broke out, gardaí became concerned at posts on far-right messaging channels encouraging rioters to descend on the home of Mr Varadkar in south Dublin.

However, while a tight security operation including members of the Armed Support Unit was put in place, the online threats did not result in any violence.

Mr Varadkar told a media conference in Dublin on Friday morning he had been advised not to discuss his personal security, declining to comment further.

Garda sources said the unrest witnessed later in the day began at a crime scene cordon erected at the junction of Parnell Square East with O’Connell Street and Parnell Street. There, a group of between 100 and 200 protesters gathered in the hours after the attack. They shouted racist and xenophobic abuse at gardaí, apparently motivated by reports identifying the stabbing suspect as a foreign man.

Dublin stunned after dark day of violence

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Some of those gathered then began breaching the crime scene and members of the media, particularly those with cameras, were abused. When the crime scene cordon was breached, the Garda’s Public Order Unit was deployed, clashing with those present.

Gardaí said it appeared news of those initial clashes spread and groups of people – including boys, older teenagers and young men – then joined the violence, quickly swelling the numbers involved. The same Garda sources said that at its height, perhaps 500 people were involved, with many of those opportunistic rioters intent on clashing with gardaí and looting shops, rather than being linked to the earlier far-right protest.

Some 34 people were arrested, around 20 of whom appeared at the Criminal Courts of Justice on Friday to face charges.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times