The Irish police have reported that the suspect, a man in his 50s who was also injured during the incident, attacked several individuals around 1:30 p.m. local time outside Gaelscoil Choláiste Mhuire, a school located at Parnell Square East in the northern part of Dublin city center.
Among the victims is a five-year-old girl who is currently undergoing emergency medical treatment due to critical injuries. An adult woman in her 30s has also been hospitalized. Two other children, a five-year-old boy and a six-year-old girl, were treated for less severe injuries.
The BBC reported that protests erupted in the vicinity of the school hours after the attack. Crowds, some of whom were masked and armed with metal bars, began to chant anti-immigration slogans, set police vehicles ablaze, loot local stores, and assault police officers.
In response to the escalating disorder, over 400 officers equipped with riot shields and batons were dispatched to the scene. The Associated Press reported that the police attributed the chaos to a "small group of thugs."
Ireland Police Commissioner Drew Harris described the situation as a "complete lunatic hooligan faction driven by far-right ideology," and warned against the spread of misinformation in the aftermath of the attack. He urged the public to act responsibly and disregard rumors circulating on social media.
"The facts are being established, but the facts are still not clear on a lot of the rumor and the innuendo is being spread for malevolent purposes," Harris stated, according to The Guardian.
The police have yet to determine a motive for the attack. "I have never ruled out any possible motive for this attack … all lines of inquiry are open to determine the motive for this attack," Harris said during a press briefing.
This statement contrasts with earlier comments made by Superintendent Liam Geraghty, who stated that while the police were keeping an open mind about potential motives, they were "satisfied there is no terrorist link."
The suspect's identity has not been formally released, but anti-immigrant groups have claimed that he is a foreigner, as reported by The Guardian.
Several Irish politicians have publicly responded to both the attack and the subsequent riots. Prime Minister Leo Varadkar expressed his thoughts and prayers for the injured children and their families. Justice Minister Helen McEntee condemned the violent actions of those who took to the streets of the capital.
"The horrific attack today in Dublin city center was an appalling crime that has shocked us all. However, the scenes we are witnessing this evening in our city center cannot and will not be tolerated," McEntee said. "A thuggish and manipulative element must not be allowed to use an appalling tragedy to wreak havoc."