Statements by mixed martial arts fighter Conor McGregor about last Thursday’s stabbing in Dublin and subsequent street violence are among a range of social media posts being examined by gardaí investigating last week’s riots.
Investigators are examining social media posts from various accounts to determine if they may have incited violence.
McGregor posted several comments on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, that were widely read and attracted positive comment from X’s owner Elon Musk. McGregor criticised Government policy on immigration and law and order and declared “Ireland, we are at war”.
In a later post, he said he did not condone the riots but “I do understand frustrations... and I do understand a move must be made to ensure the change we need is ushered in”.
The Irish Times has sought comment from McGregor about his statements last week.
Far-right figures who helped organise gatherings in the city centre are also being investigated by gardaí. Several have since deleted social media posts potentially tying them to the riots.
Social media posts surrounding last Thursday’s events are also being examined by the State’s recently-established media commission Coimisiún na Meán.
The commission last Friday met representatives from social media platforms Meta, X, TikTok and Google after the watchdog raised concerns about some of the extremist content that had been posted online. The European Commission was also represented at the meetings.
The social media companies are said to have activated their incident response plans.
“When we became aware of Thursday’s horrific stabbings in Dublin, Coimisiún na Meán immediately contacted several platforms established in Ireland regarding the potential sharing of images and videos of the incident online and the potential use of this incident to incite violence against individuals or groups,” the commission said in a statement.
Minister for Media Catherine Martin met the commission on Monday for an update on developments since then.
Coimisiún na Meán, the Media Commission, is continuing to engage with the online platforms and with An Garda Síochána on the issue.
A follow-up meeting is to take place later this week between the commission and the platforms.
The commission is due to publish draft online safety codes in the coming weeks setting out binding rules on how online services deal with harmful content, including extremist content like hate speech, threats and incitement to violence.
There will be a period of stakeholder consultation on the draft codes and following this the commission will finalise the new codes which it expects to be ready to adopt in the first quarter of 2024.
Under the plans failure to comply with an online safety code could lead to the imposition of significant financial sanctions on tech companies of up to €20 million or 10 per cent of turnover.
Illegal content is also currently subject to the rules imposed under the new EU Digital Services Act (DSA), for which the European Commission has lead responsibility.
The commission will also gain powers under this Regulation from February 17th, 2024 and has a co-operation agreement in place with the European Commission.
Enabling legislation to enforce the DSA is currently being brought forward by the Minister for Enterprise Simon Coveney.
Meanwhile, a five-year-old girl who was stabbed in the knife attack which preceded the riots in Dublin remains in an extremely serious condition in Temple Street Children’s Hospital. A school worker who received extensive injuries attempting to shield the children from the attacker also remains in a serious condition.
The only suspect in the attack, a 49-year-old man, is still being treated for serious head injuries he received while being restrained by members of the public who put a stop to the attack outside Gaelscoil Choláiste Mhuire on Parnell Square East.