A Brazilian IT professional who was one of the eyewitnesses in the knife attack outside a school on Parnell Square last Thursday says he is “traumatised” by the “horrible scene” he saw.
Eder Santos (39) was cycling home from work when he saw a man attacking a five-year-old girl with a knife.
A childcare worker was also stabbed as she tried to use her body to shield children from the attack. Two other children injured in the attack have been released from hospital, while the five-year-old girl remains in a “critical condition” in CHI Temple Street.
“My reaction was just jumping off my bike, crossing the road and trying to avoid the worst. It was when I saw the knife on the floor, I thought it would be safe to take the knife away,” he said.
Mr Santos said after getting the knife he moved it to a safe place away from where the attack took place.
“I heard the sound of the knife falling to the ground but it is still not clear in my head how the man fell on the ground and who did it.
“When I got the knife, the only thing I thought was to avoid more people from being injured.
“I came back to the scene, and someone came to help her [the five-year-old girl] and they started to perform CPR. I got desperate,” he said.
The Brazilian IT professional gave a statement to the Garda and then “I decided to go to work again in the afternoon”.
A short time later, he said, “I got calls from my friends telling me they [rioters] fired a bus. Everything was burning down. I decided to come back home. I feared for my life because I thought I would be stopped by someone else.”
Mr Santos said he saw many people angry towards immigrants and said he did “not think it is fair” as many immigrants came to Ireland to “contribute and make it a good place for Irish people and foreign people”.
He moved to Ireland seven years ago to improve his English skills and graduated in business last year. He aims to make a career in Ireland. “I thought I would feel safe [in Dublin],” he said.
Mr Santos was invited to Government Buildings on Sunday evening with a number of other people who assisted at the scene of the attack to be thanked by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee and Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe.
“I’m feeling more relieved,” he said afterwards. “They listened to what we had to say regarding the attack. They thanked us and said they were proud to have us making the country a better place.”
The Brazilian Deliveroo rider Caio Benício (43) who tackled the assailant, using his bike helmet to strike him, attended the meeting with the Taoiseach, along with French teenager and restaurant worker Alan Loren-Guille (17) who knocked the knife out of the attacker’s hand.
Mr Benício said: “I felt extremely profound receiving this honour from the Taoiseach. They were very proud of what we all did. This is a heartwarming reminder of my act.”