Those involved in the Dublin riots disturbed the scene of the Parnell Square attack and diverted Garda resources away from investigating it, the Justice Minister will tell the Oireachtas this morning.
Helen McEntee is appearing before the Oireachtas Justice Committee this morning to answer questions on the State response to the riots.
Garda cars, buses and a tram were set alight during the riots last months – with shops looted and vandalised.
The violence came after protesters gathered near the scene of the Parnell Square attack became violent.
Justice Minister Helen McEntee has been heavily criticised for her response to the riots – with the Government beating off a Sinn Féin vote of no confidence in her earlier this week.
Meanwhile, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris was grilled over the Garda response to the violence in his own appearance before the committee last week.
This morning, Minister McEntee will praise the Gardaí who made their way into the city centre to face down the rioters.
“There is no excuse for the disgraceful scenes of violence we saw a fortnight ago,” she will say.
“We must be very clear about what followed the attack - what we saw was the exploitation of an appalling incident to simply wreak havoc.
“Those involved disturbed the scene of the previous shocking crime and diverted Garda resources away from investigating and dealing with that crime.”
She will note that over 400 Gardaí and over 250 public order Gardaí were eventually deployed to the city centre in response to the riots.
“I commend each and every Garda on restoring order to our streets as quickly as they did and for their ongoing efforts to bring those responsible to justice,” she will say.
“A significant number of arrests have been made, and more than 30 people have already been before the courts.
“The high-visibility Garda presence on the streets – this includes the four public order units – is being and will be maintained in Dublin for the foreseeable future.”
Minister McEntee will insist that the safety of the Irish people “has always been foremost” in her thoughts and actions since taking office, pointing towards the new offences and tougher sentences brought in last month.
She will also point to plans to increase Garda access to tasers, pepper spray and water cannon and note that work is underway to introduce electronic tagging for certain prisoners post-release.
She will say that Gardaí will also have access to body-cams from next Spring.
The Minister will note that the Government is now working on introducing the use of facial recognition technology as a “direct result” of the riots.
“It has been a difficult few weeks, above all for the victims of the recent appalling attack, for their families and their community,” she will say.
“They remain at the forefront of my mind.”
She will finish her statement by insisting that all of her actions during her time as Justice Minister have been aimed at making the Irish people safer.