The young people involved in last week’s Dublin Riots are ‘victims as well’, a Dublin Councillor has claimed.
This afternoon, thousands gathered on O’Connell Street for a vigil for peace organised by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.
Speaking to Lunchtime Live, Green Party Councillor Donna Cooney said she hoped the vigil would demonstrate the city is “better together”.
She also said last week’s events were not “reflective” of Dublin and she hoped it would send a message to those involved in the events of Thursday night.
“The bad actors that have basically agitated them and brought them to a point of violence and incited violence and hatred; they appear to be speaking for the majority but they’re a tiny minority with a very sinister political agenda, which is very divisive,” she said.
“I suppose [the vigil] is showing those people that we want them to come back.
“The youths that were there, they are victims of this as well because they’re being pulled into a life of… criminal behaviour by these people.
“They should be getting the training and the work provided in this city as well.”
Cllr Cooney said the vigil would “hopefully” speak to some of them and help them feel more included in the community.
“When we talk about a Dublin for all, it includes them as well - but it doesn’t include any hatred, it doesn’t include any division.
“We’re all needed in this city to make this city work.”
'A symbolic gesture'
ICTU General Secretary Owen Reidy said the vigil gave workers an opportunity to demonstrate solidarity with each other and condemn violence.
“Of course, there’s concern for retail and hospitality workers - particularly those from a migrant background who felt, in many cases, afraid to come into work in the city the next day,” he said.
“So, we have to reject that and it’s a symbolic gesture for us to say, ‘Look, that doesn’t represent Dublin, it doesn’t represent the city, it doesn’t represent the people.’
“We have to challenge that toxic, racist element to the violence as well that is very hostile to migrants. We need and value our migrant workers.”
During the riots, 34 people were arrested, of whom 32 appeared in court on Friday morning.
By Saturday, a further 14 had been arrested and this afternoon Gardaí issued an appeal anyone with photos or video of the riots to contact them.
Main image: Rioting and looting in Dublin. Photo: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie