Dublin riots: ‘It’s just a mess. The whole front of the shop was destroyed’

Retailers count the cost of rioting and looting as they prepare to reopen

Cliff Nolan spent all of last Thursday night and Friday morning on the floor of his bike shop on Capel Street guarding what was left of his stock not knowing if and when the mob would come back.

All he had to defend himself was a hastily cobbled together shield of chairs and plywood, and he was not confident they would serve as much protection from the looters who had wreaked havoc on his business shortly after the north inner city erupted on Thursday evening.

“I didn’t have any sleep at all and while it quietened down as the night wore on, there was the odd disturbance on the street outside right up until about 4am,” he said.

Bike Stop, the shop he has co-owned since 2021, was targeted by looters with more than 10 expensive bikes stolen over the course of a frenzied few minutes.


Many of the bikes they did not steal were damaged, trampled underfoot by the thieves, with the windows and doors protecting his small shop also trashed.

“It’s just a mess,” he said. “The whole front of the shop was destroyed and a lot of things are missing so we are still just in shock. We lost about 10 new bikes and some customers’ bikes that were left in for repair too, so in terms of the cost you might be looking at close to €15,000,” Nolan said.

While most of the weekend was spent cleaning up the mess and much of Monday on the phone with his insurance company to see what would and would not be covered by his policy, the business has stayed open.

“We were never in this to be millionaires, you know. I love the business, it is a passion. And I love the customers who have become a community, it was never just about making a buck, you know,” he said.

Although the wind has definitely been taken out of his sails, he was defiant and stressed that the business would survive. “We will recover especially because of the community around here who have helped us and supported us over the past few days,” he said.

His niece has set up a go-fund me page which has raised about €10,000 while the shops on the street have donated things the Bike Stop might need to continue trading, including the tools needed to shore up the damaged shop front.

“There are a lot of people out there who are good and they have been good to us, neighbours, businesses, customers who we maybe would not have seen in a good while. They have all been there showing support.”

While the Bike Stop is back up and running, the Gala newsagents closer to the epicentre of the riotous scenes remained shuttered on Monday afternoon with owner King Kumar still surveying the wreckage.

He pointed to the coffee machine which had been destroyed and the empty shelves where vapes once sat.

“They took all the cigarettes and the alcohol too. They were in the shop for about two hours and they kept coming back. My staff and the co-owner were hiding in the basement and they couldn’t get out,” he said.

“They were ringing me and the guards and I was ringing the guards but there was nothing that could be done.”

Like Nolan, Kumar was spending much of Monday counting the cost of the ransacking of his shop and had been on the phone to the insurance company to see what relief would be coming.

“They have been in already so we will see what happens next,” he said stoically. “It is a busy time of the year with a lot of people passing but we will be closed for a while yet and I don’t know when we will be able to open again.”

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor and cohost of the In the News podcast