security response | 

Armed gardai to patrol synagogues, mosques and home of Taoiseach following street riots

The scene on Parnell Square East on November 23 following a serious stabbing incident. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Robin Schiller and Philip Ryan

Armed gardaí have begun patrolling outside the Taoiseach’s home as part of a special security response to the street violence in Dublin last week.

The policing operation has been launched to provide additional garda security to areas that could be deemed potential targets of anti-immigration protests or violence from far-right agitators.

A second aspect of the operation will see armed and unarmed garda units patrolling sites including mosques, refugee accommodation centres, Immigration Protection Offices (IPO) and synagogues in Dublin.

Detectives tasked with specifically monitoring Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s home have also been asked to confirm that there is no suspicious activity or potential threats in the area every hour due to the high-profile nature of the post.

While Mr Varadkar has a garda driver and is given round-the-clock protection by detectives, the local armed units will focus on his home and the surrounding area for suspect activity.

A source said the security operation was launched on Thursday and will continue for several weeks following rioting, destruction and looting in the capital.

“There have been previous protests at the home of the Taoiseach, but the level of violence seen in the city centre last week means there are now greater concerns of any activity around the property,” the source said.

Gardaí are also aware of messages shared online during the rioting last week that said Mr Varadkar’s home was a target for those involved.

One prominent far-right agitator has also previously said he would be justified in killing the Taoiseach .

A spokesperson for Mr Varadkar said they do not comment on security issues.

A garda spokesperson also said they do not comment on matters of security related to any individual or group, but added that, as part of continuing engagement with minority communities, gardaí “have been providing reassurance to any groups or individuals impacted by recent national and international events”.

The spokesperson added: “As part of Operation Citizen, gardaí across Dublin city continue to conduct high-visibility patrols on foot, on bicycle and in garda vehicles at locations identified where instances of anti-social behaviour and public order offences occur.

“This operation will continue throughout the forthcoming weekend and the month of December.”

Several teams from the garda public order unit are also being deployed to the city every day to deal with any incidents to avoid scenes similar to the rioting of last week.

So far, gardaí have arrested around 40 people relating to the violence, while efforts are continuing to identify others involved.

Around 60 gardaí were injured, while several buses and garda vehicles and a Luas tram were burnt out and shops looted.

The National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI) is also focusing on the ringleaders of the violence and trying to establish who organised and mobilising the rioters.

The violence erupted on November 23 after several people, including young children, were stabbed outside a school on Parnell Square.

A five-year-old girl suffered serious stab wounds and remains on life-support in hospital.

The suspect, an Algerian national with Irish citizenship, remains under armed guard in a Dublin hospital and has yet to be questioned.

Earlier this week, social media accounts associated with far-right agitators posted images of a man who they wrongly identified as the suspect.

This individual has since been given garda security over fears for his safety.

Some of the individuals who shared images of the man are at the centre of the investigation by the NBCI on suspicion of playing a role in organising the violence on November 23.

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