The Dublin Riots – three months on

What are the impacts the events of late November have had on our city and its atmosphere? An Irish Pakistani student reflects on his experience.

The remains of a Luas tram following the riots – Photo: Molly McNiffe

On November 23rd, 2023, Dublin city became a place brimming with hate, discrimination and exclusion.  

Rioting, arson and vandalism swept through the streets, with gangs of people who had a violent and racist agenda.  

The nation was shocked at viral videos seemingly mirroring ‘The Purge’ movies – public transport on fire, physical abuse against gardaÍ and shops being looted. 

A shop boarded up following lootingPhoto: Molly McNiffe

Amidst the anarchy that night, the anger of the rioters was directed toward people who weren’t Irish and white.  

The riots followed a tragic incident earlier that day, in which a man stabbed three children and their care assistant. 

The only part of this tragedy that mattered to a lot of the rioters was the fact that this man, an Irish citizen born in Algeria, was of foreign origin. 

In the days that followed, racist graffiti began to pop up all over town at an alarming rate.

Racist graffiti in the Liberties – Photo: Molly McNiffe

Scapegoating spread through social media, with many users blaming foreigners for almost every problem in our nation – the housing crisis, unemployment – and fury towards our government for ‘letting them in’. 

It is now three months on from the riots – lockdowns long lifted, businesses repaired and reopened – but what happened to the people affected?  

An Irish-Pakistani student, who wishes not to be named, told The Liberty what it has meant to him.  

The young man from Wexford moved up to Dublin for his studies, and was living in Lucan in November. His day to day was life ripped away from him.

“I missed a week and a half of college, and even when I did go back, I avoided going on nights out.” 

Has Ireland overlooked its problem with discrimination for some time? 

“I’ve experienced racism in many parts of life growing up – in school, in work and on nights out. I’ve also experienced discrimination many times when playing sports.” 

In a response to the discrimination experienced in sports in Ireland, the GAA council issued a statement promising zero tolerance towards racism in gaelic games. 

Yet, sports was only one aspect of life where this young man experienced discrimination – education, work and simply going out with friends being the others. 

Colleges in Dublin, however, showed their support to students too during this turbulent time. 

“The support from college was great – they called me in for meetings with subject department heads and made it clear that racial abuse would not be tolerated within the college,” the young man said. 

According to the Council of Europe, 21% of Dublin’s population is foreign, meaning that someone in some aspect of your life, if not you, was made to feel like a target.

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