There are hopes that Thursday night’s riots and the subsequent unrest will be a “catalyst for change” to improve Dublin streets, according to one business representative.
Shops in Dublin’s city centre tentatively open this Saturday morning following violent protests on Thursday and intense policing on Friday night.
Retail Excellence Ireland CEO Jean McCabe told Down to Business retailers are hoping to “return to normal trading” this weekend.
“The first concern for retailers was their people,” she said. “Reports were that a lot didn't feel safe traveling to work - especially migrant workers - which is a really sad case of affairs when you consider you know how the how important they are to the Irish economy.
“The city looks clean and tidy and there’s some stores opening back up and a bit of normality.”
Ms McCabe argued, however, that the riots on Thursday are a “culmination of the antisocial behaviour that has been plaguing the Dublin City on a daily basis”.
“It’s a problem that retailers and ourselves have been banging on the door about and it’s just not being addressed,” she said.
“The hope is that this incident and these riots will be the catalyst for the change that we urgently need.
“We strongly urge Government to provide Gardaí with the necessary resources to effectively address this issue and to take a zero-tolerance approach.”
She said crimes such as theft are being tracked by Gardaí but not antisocial behaviour.
“They're not taking it seriously and I think even the response to Thursday night’s events show little notice they’re given antisocial behaviour and the impact it’s having on our streets,” she said.
“It's no secret that the north inner city has been struggling with antisocial behaviour for a long time.
“I think if the Gardaí step up the approach to antisocial behaviour and have a zero-tolerance policy, the northside could probably be one of the safest places in the city.”
Shopping after the riots
Retail trading was down roughly 70% in Dublin’s city centre yesterday, Ms McCabe estimated.
“It’s important for the public to think about shopping in Dublin’s city centre this year, whether it be online or in-store,” she said.
“It’s about taking back our city and not letting these thugs own the streets essentially.”
Dozens were arrested following riots on Thursday evening in wake of the stabbing that resulted in major damage in Dublin’s city centre, particularly on O’Connell Street.
A silent standoff is taking place in the city centre between anti-immigrant protestors and Grandfathers Against Racism.
The two groups have gathered at the Spire on O'Connell Street, less than 48 hours after violent rioting occupied the same area.
A heavy Garda presence is at the scene and along the street.
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