Restoring order to Irish society after yesterday’s riots is not something Gardaí can do by themselves, a former Assistant Commissioner has said.
Following the riots, Gardaí have arrested dozens of individuals and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the force is operating “on the basis” there will be further violence this weekend.
Speaking to The Hard Shoulder, former Assistant Commissioner Pat Leahy described yesterday’s violence as an “emerging crisis”.
“Focusing on policing alone here, is not going to solve the problem for us,” he said.
“What we saw last night was an attack on our democracy, actually.
“And while it was planned in advance, the date or the time hadn’t been determined but what they got yesterday, or what they seized on and exploited was a trigger event for them.
“So, they could link their nasty ideology to something. They’re just exploiting that unfortunate event that took place in Parnell Square.”
Mr Leahy noted other countries have experienced violent riots and said it was important to get all stakeholders “around the table” to analyse exactly what happened.
“We must define the problem we have,” he said.
“So, we must have a collective understanding of what we’re dealing with.
“Now, that requires us to do a little bit of research, proper research, reach out to our international partners and get the intelligence that exists out there in terms of how this manifests itself.”
In the meantime, Mr Leahy predicted there would be an increased Garda presence in Dublin city centre to help people feel safe.
“We probably will see a Public Order Standing Unit or two or three Public Order Units in the city just to reassure people and to provide some stability,” he said.
“Because this has gone out across the world, people have looked at this now and what has happened is the people who set about this have achieved their aim.
“There’s fear in the city, there’s chaos in the city, they got their focus up there on the international media.
“Everybody’s talking about it, so I imagine they’re sitting at home today and they’re ringing their hands together saying, ‘We achieved our aim.’”
In the wake of the riots, Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald said she no longer had “confidence” in Garda Commissioner Drew Harris or Justice Minister Helen McEntee.
Commissioner Harris has said there would have to be a “proportionate response” to yesterday’s events.
Main image: Pictured is a burned Luas carriage on O'Connell Street in Dublin. Photograph: © RollingNews.ie