Former Donegal News reporter witnesses Dublin riots aftermath

By Callum McGuigan

A TYRONE man who witnessed the aftermath of the worst violence seen in Dublin for years has spoken of the charred vehicles strewn on the city centre streets.

The riots on Thursday night occurred hours after three children and a school care assistant were injured in a knife attack in the capital.


Scenes of burning buses and Garda riot officers clashing with rioters were streamed across social media as the violence raged throughout the night, resulting in 34 arrests on the following day.

Former Donegal News reporter, Conor Sharkey, arrived in Dublin on the night of the rioting and told about the ‘ring of steel’ of Gardaí officers in the city the next morning.

The Strabane man now works as a communications officer for the North West Migrants Forum

Speaking on Friday, Mr Sharkey described the horrifying scenes.

“We came down last night around 8pm and we didn’t see any trouble but you could smell it, the burning in the distance. We had been following the coverage in the car wondering if we’d even get in or if the city would be locked down.”

Mr Sharkey spoke of witnessing the aftermath of the destruction in the city centre.

He said: “There were burnt-out vehicles on the street. You couldn’t tell if it was a car or bus, it was just charred debris.


“They even burned out one of the Luas trams which was laying on the street.

“The council workers were out and they’re doing a great job in getting everything cleaned up.

“One thing for certain is that it was definitely a bad day for Dublin, but Dubliners do as best they can and were away to work in the morning.”

Mr Sharkey said that lots of people were stopping in Parnell Square, one of the worst-affected areas.

He said: “The feeling from chatting to people is a general unhappiness.

“Like, today is Black Friday, meant to be one of the busiest days in Dublin, and businesses can’t and won’t open in case of more violence.

“Although people are afraid, they are hopeful that this is a one-off.”

In the wake of the violence, Garda Commissioner, Drew Harris, blamed the rioting on a “lunatic, hooligan faction driven by a far-right ideology”.

“In the context of my work with the NWMF, the attack from the far-right is worrying,” Mr Sharkey admitted.

“Although I believe that in the majority of the population that there is no appetite for that kind of hatred.

“The far-right movement has been lingering for years and they’ve been waiting for their moment to strike.

“This attack on Thursday provided them that scapegoat to wreak havoc.

“They don’t care about the victims of the attack, they’re just out to cause mayhem,” the Strabane man added.

Receive quality journalism wherever you are, on any device. Keep up to date from the comfort of your own home with a digital subscription.
Any time | Any place | Anywhere

and get access to our archive editions dating back to 2007
Every Thursday
Every Monday

Donegal News is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. St. Anne's Court, Letterkenny, County Donegal, Ireland