At 1.30 p.m. last Thursday, a horrific knife attack was perpetrated outside a school on Parnell Street in Dublin’s north inner city. Three children and an adult female were viciously stabbed by the attacker who has now been confirmed to be an Algerian male who acquired Irish citizenship and has been living in the country for the last 20 years.
Both the attacker and his four victims have been hospitalised. One of those victims, a 5 year old girl, remains in a critical condition, while her female carer, who tried to stop the knifeman, remains in the Mater hospital.
Dublin’s north inner city has long been known as ‘bandit country’. Having seemingly been abandoned by successive governments, this part of the city, which stretches into Dublin’s main thoroughfare of O’Connell Street, has spent the last few years descending into a seemingly never-ending cycle of decay and despair.
Drug dealing is openly performed on the streets. Muggings, assaults and car thefts are now so ubiquitous that they don’t even make the news anymore. It’s rare to see a police man on the street. Added to this, the last few years have also seen the area suffer through the worst gangland feud in the nation’s history: the war between the Kinahan and Hutch gangs stretched resources to breaking point and resulted in an almost complete lack of street-level policing.
Thursday’s savage attack on young children, however, and the subsequent violent response from the locals has shaken the nation to its core. The motivation for the attack has yet to be established and the Gardai were initially quick to dismiss any concerns that there was a terrorist motive behind the atrocity.
Subsequently, however, Garda commissioner, Drew Harris, has refused to rule out that possibility.