Call for Dáil debate on Dublin riots

The Dáil should hold a full debate on Saturday’s riots in central Dublin, it was claimed today.

Labour leader Pat Rabbitte also called on all political parties to condemn the violence unleashed by scores of protestors blocking a loyalist Love Ulster parade.

Minister for Justice Michael McDowell is expected to receive a Garda management report on its policing operation this evening and bring it to Cabinet tomorrow.

Forty-two people have been already arrested and Mr McDowell said he expects further arrests linked to the disorder, which injured 14.

Mr Rabbitte said: “It is essential that the Dáil should have a full opportunity tomorrow to discuss in detail the shocking scenes of violence that occurred in the centre of Dublin on Saturday.”

“It is not acceptable that this issue should be dealt with simply by way of Leader's Questions to the Taoiseach. There should be a preliminary report from the Minister for Justice with the opportunity for members of the House to put questions to him.”

The Dublin South West TD also called for a cross-party motion to condemn in unequivocal terms the violence and reassert the right of people to hold a peaceful march through Dublin.

“People who wanted to hold a peaceful march through Dublin to promote a particular viewpoint and who co-operated fully with the gardaí in terms of all organisational details, were denied the opportunity to do so by the thuggish behaviour of a minority. That is a poor day for our democracy.

“The savagery of the attacks on Saturday, particularly those directed towards members of the gardaí, was absolutely shocking, as was the wanton destruction of property.”

Mr Rabbitte said that the responsibility for Saturday’s violence rested squarely with those who organised the counter-demonstration, who he said clearly came equipped and prepared for violence and who unleashed a venomous wave of hatred and abuse.

He also queried the quality of advance Garda intelligence and the level of preparation that went into policing the event.

“How was it that there was apparently no Garda intelligence to warn about the violence that clearly required a significant degree of preparations?” he asked.

“Were Garda numbers sufficient to deal with the situation? Was the equipment available to the gardaí adequate? Were the tactics used by the gardaí the most effective possible to contain the violence once it had started?

“These are all questions that require answers and the process of dealing with these matters should commence in the Dáil tomorrow.”

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