Letters to the Editor: Riots an expression of rage against austerity

Letters to the Editor: Riots an expression of rage against austerity

Members of An Garda Siochana in Dublin city centre on Thursday night.

The riotous events in Dublin, while shocking, were not surprising. 

After a year of right-wing organisation, anti-immigration protests since last winter, antisocial youth activity in Dublin since summer, and abusive protesters disrupting the start of the parliamentary term in autumn, there was a clear build-up towards the conflagration on O’Connell St on Thursday.

While the crowd violence began as a right-wing mobilisation, in reaction to the horrific knife attacks on three children and their carer on Parnell Square earlier that afternoon, the riotous activities escalated into attacks on private property, public infrastructure, and the gardaí by that evening.

This violence must be understood as the expression of popular rage in response to the austerity measures and neo-liberal policies that have done nothing to alleviate or overcome the housing crisis, healthcare crisis, cost-of-living crisis, inflation, and the erasure of state and social services, over the past two decades.

Nor have those policies done anything to fix the warped economic situation that has deprived the youth of a future in Ireland — leaving educated, middle-class youth with no option but to emigrate, and lower-income and working-class youth with absolutely nothing: No present and no future.

This violence must not be understood as an expression of innate xenophobic tendencies among the Irish population.

Respectable political parties and people of influence must take this as a warning. Radical action on housing, health, cost-of-living, and public and social provision must happen immediately, in order to prevent malicious, far-right actors from diverting this rage and disaffection towards anti-immigration action and the rise of a reactionary political movement.

For that is an outcome that will only lead to chaos and will not solve anything. Éireann Abú. We must, and can, do better — far better.

Eoghan C Hussey, Department of History, European University Institute, Florence, Italy

Gardaí must be equipped to deal with rioters

People have a right to opinions, but attacks on innocent gardaí this week were a disgrace.

Ambulance and fire services are also in danger. The harshest punishment should also follow destruction of any property.

The guards can’t continue to do their work if they’re not properly trained, equipped, and armed. 

Similarly, aggressive Dublin riots in early 2006 should have taught the Government something in terms of preparing gardaí for such incidents.

Dr Florence Craven, Bracknagh, Co Offaly

Riots a symptom of gross inequality in society

What has happened in our capital city is thuggery and ignorance of the worst kind. 

The tragic stabbing of children and their carer is criminal behaviour, causing great grief within the community. 

It shocks us all.

Time is needed to process and deal with this tragedy, in as measured and supportive a way as possible. 

It is unforgivable that a group of people, who would seem to have hatred in their hearts, would selfishly try to draw attention to themselves in the midst of this tragic event.

It is a call to us all to reflect on the values we want our country to hold at a time of change, when too many people have been let down due to the corrosive inequality that has been allowed to grow over decades.

Mary Shanahan, Tralee, Co Kerry

Stabbing of children used as excuse to start a riot

In the aftermath of the brutal stabbing attack of three young children and a carer, a group of far right racist thugs decided to use it as an excuse to start a riot. 

This is not my Dublin; they do not represent me. #NotMyDublin.

Aisling McNiffe, Ardclough, Co Kildare

Minister responsible for greater Garda visibility

Dublin city centre business people are hoping for a “visible Garda presence” on city streets in the coming days. 

Didn’t the minister promise exactly that, back in the summer? 

A double decker bus and a car alight on the edge of O'Connell Bridge. Picture: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie
A double decker bus and a car alight on the edge of O'Connell Bridge. Picture: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

Thuggery and criminality have been part and parcel of the city for a long number of years, and nobody “anticipated” what happened?

It’s also ironic that what used to be called “Garda patrol” has been replaced by Crimecall.

Garda presence is the obvious answer; the responsibility lies with the minister.

Peter Declan O’Halloran, Belturbet, Co Cavan

Resist and disown these bully groups

The violence on Dublin streets on Thursday marks a watershed in Irish society. 

Any respect for democracy and human rights, as claimed by extreme right wing groups, has been finally exposed as a veneer used to pursue their fascist agenda and exploitation of social issues.

This day was coming.

The burning of tents of asylum seekers, the violent attempts to ban LGBT+ books in public libraries, and the recent violence against politicians are all the hallmarks of increasing fascism in our society.

Society and its institutions have always expected violence and revolution from the “left” while ignoring the insidious growth of the “right”, to the point where it is becoming a dominant force, not alone in Ireland, but throughout the world.

Even as I write, staff in schools and hospitals in Dublin 1 are being sent home due to a threatened protest against the alleged perpetrator of the horrific knife attack, who is being detained in a local hospital.

Their use of our national tricolour flag to give them credibility brings shame on us all.

Unless we stand up against these bully groups, they will continue to spread their venomous misinformation on social media platforms — whose multinational owners give them free rein to spread their dangerous propaganda.

Our time to resist them by every peaceful means is now.

Brendan Butler, Drumcondra, Dublin 9

Mob were more ‘all right Jack’ than far-right

What a convenient phrase to label the rent-a-mob in Dublin city centre as “far-right protesters”. 

The same calibre of opportunistic deviants were out in full force during the Love Ulster march in 2006.

It should be obvious to anyone with a modicum of logic that any excuse for a riot, with a liberal dash of free retail therapy and sprinkled with pyromania, is exactly what these individuals love.

More a case of “all right Jack” than far-right. Let’s not intellectualise thuggery, theft, criminality, and violence.

Aileen Hooper, Stoneybatter, Dublin 7

Chaos was a victory for sinister ‘protesters’

While civilised citizens sympathise and identify with the injured children and their carer, we ought not forget that when citizens are called onto the streets to “protest” by sinister shady types, chaos and burning is a victory for them.

Robert Sullivan, Bantry, Co Cork

Government plans to scrap the triple lock

Micheál Martin’s announcement that he is planning to scrap the triple lock on Irish military deployment should come as no surprise to anybody.

It is of a piece with other moves by this, and previous Governments, to quietly undermine the state’s longstanding policy of military neutrality.

As revealed in August, Ireland is currently engaged in weapons training the Ukrainian military, a move defended by Government ministers as somehow in line with our military neutrality. 

How is training an army at war compatible with neutrality? It simply is not.

And, of course, we also have the continued use of Shannon airport by the US military; a flagrant breach of neutrality that has been ongoing for decades.

The abolition of the triple lock will allow greater flexibility to involve the Irish army in military operations abroad — not just peacekeeping missions.

Moreover, references have been made to EU-led missions, a troubling prospect, as the EU was never intended as a military alliance and, significantly, 23 member countries are also in Nato.

By abandoning the triple lock, this Government is also contributing to an erosion of confidence in the UN. Yes, the UN Security Council is undoubtedly a problematic entity — and always has been (this isn’t new information) — but for Ireland to reject UN involvement in decision-making with regard to peacekeeping missions is unhelpful to the UN in general. 

We should instead be arguing for reforming the structures of the UN.

At any rate, it appears as if the coalition parties are actively contemplating the jettisoning of this State’s widely respected anti-war foreign policy. However, opinion polls suggest such a shift would be opposed by most people.

Fintan Lane, Lucan, Co Dublin

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