School ‘getting no answers or leadership’ from Minister, Sinn Féin TD tells McEntee

Louise O’Reilly holds up photograph in Dáil of man apparently intoxicated outside school where stabbing in Dublin’s north inner city took place

A picture of a man apparently intoxicated outside the school where the stabbing incident in Dublin’s north inner city took place last week has been held up in the Dáil by a Sinn Féin TD on Wednesday.

Dublin Fingal TD Louise O’Reilly held up the printed photograph to the Minister for Justice during Leaders’ Questions and said “this is what greeted” children as they left school on Monday afternoon, “six days after that traumatic and horrid event”.

“The school is terrified and traumatised. The school community want answers and leadership and they are getting neither from you,” she told the Minister. “This picture represents what Dublin city feels like to Dubliners on your watch. You should resign.”

Ms O’Reilly said as children left Gaelscoil Choláiste Mhuire on Monday they were “greeted with the sight of an intoxicated stranger who had urinated on himself” and that “not a single garda” was around”.


Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald also shared the image on her social media earlier and said for “all the hot air and diversions”, no lessons had been learned by the Government.

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said politicians had a role to be “responsible” and Ms O’Reilly should consider that before “you start waving pictures around”.

“You’ve said a lot of things deputy [O’Reilly], your party has said a lot of things, your leader has said a lot of things since last Thursday – not a single solution, not a single proposal, not a single thing of benefit has come out of your mouth since last Thursday,” she said.

“Instead, you have used a tragic situation to sow division, to point score and to create instability.”

Ms McEntee said she had initially thought that Dublin Central TDs would be united to “face down these absolute thugs who wreaked havoc in our city centre for a period of time” but instead less than 24 hours after the riots, Ms McDonald was “standing on the edge of a criminal scene calling for heads”.

The Fine Gael TD said when all people wanted in the country was stability, Sinn Féin was only interested in providing instability.

Ms McEntee also said she had been in contact with the school’s principal and local Garda and “every resource” the school required would be made available.

“Gardaí are there, they will be stationed there,” she said. “It is not for me or you or anyone in this House to decide how policing should operate with gardaí working with and engaging with that school to make sure that whatever needs they have, whatever support they require, that it will be made available to them.”

Labour leader Ivana Bacik said the waving of a photograph of an identifiable person in the Dáil was “an outrageous action” and “outrageous grandstanding” and that it was wrong.

Ms Bacik said there had also been grandstanding from Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael “desperately seeking to evade accountability by churning out calls which will do anything but address the real crisis facing policing”.

“We’ve heard red herring calls like cuts to benefits, like facial-recognition technology, water cannons, dogs, more police powers, and we warned yesterday Minister, you can’t legislate your way out of this crisis,” she said.

“It’s not about that nor can you distract us with political theatre, like asking the Policing Authority to provide clarity on the use of force. That’s a farcical question.”

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times