Irish police arrested 34 people after far-right rioters attacked gardaí and burned several vehicles in Dublin during a night of rioting on Thursday following a shocking knife attack at an inner-city school.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said on Friday morning that one police officer received serious injuries during the rioting on O'Connell Street, while "numerous other members" suffered injuries after missiles were thrown at them. 

Gardaí said 13 stores were looted during the riots, while 11 Garda cars suffered extensive damage, including three that were set on fire. 

Three buses and a Luas tram were also set on fire during the riots on Thursday, gardaí said in a press release. 

Videos circulating on social media show rioters setting fire to buses and a Luas train in the capital, while other videos show rioters looting the Arnott's department store on Henry Street and the Foot Locker store on O'Connell Street. Further social media footage shows rioters attacking fire brigades as firefighters attempted to reach the burning vehicles. 

"A Watch" have finished night duty and thankfully all our Firefighter/paramedics got to go home safe with no injuries reported.

A fire engine windscreen was damaged in the city centre. It was replaced by a spare appliance and the crew were able to resume their duties.

— Dublin Fire Brigade (@DubFireBrigade) November 24, 2023

Rioters clashed with police on several occasions and aimed flares and fireworks at gardaí from close range. Others threw stools and chairs taken from outside nearby pubs and restaurants. 

Gardaí guarded looted stores on Friday morning, while firefighters put out fires in smoldering vehicles throughout the capital. 

"Lunatic faction"

Speaking during the riots on Thursday night, Harris blamed a "complete lunatic faction driven by far-right ideology" for sparking the riots. 

Harris said people will see a heavy Garda presence in Dublin on Friday and encouraged people to go about their business as normal, adding that Dubliners can't allow the city to be taken over by looters and thugs. 

Harris said a significant number of rioters attempted to breach the cordon of the crime scene on Parnell Square East and said it was disgraceful that the investigation was disrupted by rioting on Thursday night. 

Double decker bus and car on fire, O’Connell Bridge #Dublin

— Stephen Murphy (@SMurphyTV) November 23, 2023

"These are scenes that we have not seen in decades but what is clear is that people have been radicalized through social media and the internet," Harris said on Friday morning. 

"But I don't want to lose focus on the terrible event in terms of the dreadful assault on schoolchildren and their teacher.

"There's a full investigation ongoing. There’s also a full investigation in respect to the disorder." 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told reporters on Friday morning that the rioters "brought shame on Dublin, brought shame on Ireland, and brought shame on their families and themselves". 

Violent attack

Gardaí said rioting began after a small group of anti-immigrant protesters arrived at the scene of a stabbing on Parnell Square East and clashed with police. 

Three young children and two adults were hospitalized following the knife attack outside Gaelscoil Coláiste Mhuire on Thursday afternoon. 

A five-year-old girl is fighting for her life in Temple Street Hospital following the attack, while a woman in her 30s, believed to be a schoolteacher who attempted to protect students at the school, was also seriously injured and is receiving treatment at the Mater Hospital. 

Gardaí also confirmed on Thursday that the man injured in the attack is a person of interest in their investigations, with unfounded rumors about the man's ethnicity circulating on social media throughout Thursday afternoon. 

Speaking of the knife attack, Harris said the motive remained unclear and refused to be drawn into speculation about the attack. 

Varadkar also paid tribute to the "heroes" who intervened during Thursday's knife attack to prevent further injuries. 

Riot response

The Taoiseach (Irish leader) expressed his full confidence in Drew Harris but said a review would have to be carried out into how the riots broke out on Thursday night. 

Harris denied that there was any failure by gardaí in their response to the rioting and said gardaí could not have anticipated such a strong reaction to Thursday's stabbing. 

"We could not have anticipated that this would have been the reaction," Harris said on Friday. 

However, Harris said there would have to be a fundamental review of An Garda Síochána's public order response. 

Over 400 gardaí were deployed on the streets of Dublin on Thursday night and were supported by over 250 public order gardaí. 

A total of 32 people are due to appear in court on Friday in connection with the riots after 34 people were arrested overnight. 

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said anyone found guilty of assaulting a member of An Garda Síochána could face up to 12 years in prison. 

"Thirty-four people have been arrested. They will, for the most part, be before the court today. There are thousands of hours of CCTV footage that gardai will go through, many didn't cover their faces, that CCTV will be gone through and they will be apprehended and they will be brought before the courts as well," McEntee told RTÉ News. 

"We have very, very strong legislation - up to 10 years in prison with up to 12 years as well for someone who assaulted a member of An Garda Síochána."