Donohoe gives ‘full support’ to Irish Justice Minister and Garda commissioner

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris (left) with Minister for Justice Helen McEntee (Brian Lawless/PA)
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris (left) with Minister for Justice Helen McEntee (Brian Lawless/PA)

Full confidence has been expressed in the Irish Justice Minister and the head of the Irish police after they faced calls to quit following the worst rioting seen in the state for decades.

Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe also cautioned against division after Garda cars, a bus and a tram were set alight, shops damaged and looted and officers attacked during violent scenes, which involved far-right elements, in Dublin last week.

It came shortly after three children and a women were injured in a stabbing attack outside a school in the north city centre.

A five-year-old girl injured in the knife attack outside a school remained in a critical condition in hospital on Saturday while the female care assistant, in her 30s, was in a serious condition.

The other children have since been released.

Dublin city centre incident
The scene in Dublin city centre on Thursday after five people were injured, including three young children, on Parnell Square East (Brian Lawless/PA)

Gardai said a man who sustained serious injuries at the scene is a person of interest in their investigation.

Some 48 arrests had been made in the city since the rioting on Thursday and a high-visibility policing plan is in place throughout the weekend, including the deployment of four public order units.

Friday and Saturday passed without major incident amid a heavy Garda presence in Dublin.

Two water cannon have been loaned to An Garda Siochana by the Police Force of Northern Ireland as an available tactic if further violence flares.

Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald said there had been an “unacceptable failure to keep people safe”, and called for Ms McEntee and Mr Harris to resign.

Social Democrats TD Gary Gannon also said he did not have confidence in either of the pair.

Missing person Tina Satchwell case
Justice minister Helen McEntee (Brian Lawless/PA)

On Sunday the Minister for Public Expenditure Mr Donohoe said he fully supports Ms McEntee and Mr Harris in their roles and cautioned that now is not the time for division.

“While they and we will want to look at what happened, I believe they continue to do an exceptional job in circumstances that I acknowledge are of course demanding at the moment,” he told the BBC.

“Sinn Fein never miss an opportunity to express a lack of confidence in anybody or anything.

“This is exactly the time in which we need to come together, it’s exactly the time in which we need to show a united force I believe to some forces that are trying to fragment and pull our country apart

“Of course there will be a time to consider what happened and learn lessons from it honestly, but now is not a time for division.”