Irish head of state Leo Vardkar vowed to introduce new anti-free speech laws in response to a night of rioting in Dublin that kicked off after an Algerian national stabbed multiple people, including a child as young as five, outside a school.
Early Thursday morning, one woman and three children were stabbed in a knife attack outside a Dublin school. The Irish Times reported that the suspect has been identified as an Algerian national with Irish citizenship.
The incident sent shockwaves throughout Irish society and later led to widespread rioting after dark. Rioters demanded the deportation of migrants, tens-of-thousands of whom have been given paid housing by the Irish government after arriving from Africa, the Middle East and Ukraine.
Dublin citizens have protested the massive influx of migrants at numerous points over the last year, though Thursday night’s riots represented a massive increase in tension. Rioters burned tram cars, police vehicles and a number of buildings while calling for mass deportations.
Irish Taoiseach Leo Vardkar — who has previously insinuated that the 95 percent white nation of Ireland is racist for having majority white politicians — addressed the riots on Friday, claiming that those who rioted are who the public fears the most.
“To all those cowardly champions of Ireland who took to the streets of Dublin last night, let me say one thing. Ask your sisters, ask your friends, ask everyone you know what they fear most on our streets. They’re afraid of you, afraid of your anger and your rage, afraid of your violence, your hate and how you blame others for your problems,” he said.
“As a government we will be relentless in protecting our citizens and defending our people. The Gardaí will be on the streets in large numbers and will do whatever it takes to fight back waves of ignorance and criminality. The Minister for Justice will coordinate with the Commissioner to ensure we never witness such terrible scenes as the 23rd of November 2023 ever again.”
Varadkar’s statement has been met with overwhelming backlash on social media. Sky News locked replied to the prime minister’s statement, which has garnered just over 1,300 likes despite being viewed 2.1 million times.
The Irish head of state also vowed to pursue a string of anti-free speech laws to prevent Irish citizens opposed to mass immigration from organizing or protesting.
“We will pass new laws in the coming weeks to enable the Gardai (police) to make better use of the CCTV evidence they collected yesterday, and also we will modernize our laws against incitement to hatred and hatred in general,” Varadkar said during Friday’s press conference.
He acknowledged that similar protests were being prepared online and vowed an increased police presence and harsh response to any demonstrations that take place on Friday night.
“We have very strong legislation both in the Public Order Act and the Offences Against the State Act. The Commissioner has the power under the Public Order Act to prescribe or limit manifestations or protests as needed and he will use those powers but only if they’re needed,” he said. He then doubled down on his pledge to hold rioters accountable and give police wider access to CCTV footage.
“In addition to that, I think it’s now very obvious to anyone who might have doubted it that our incitement hatred legislation is just not up to date. It’s not up to date for the social media age and we need that legislation through and we need it through within a matter of weeks because it’s not just the platforms who have a responsibility here and they do, there’s also the individuals who post messages and images online that stir up hatred and violence and we need to be able to use laws to go after them individually as well. after them individually as well,” he continued.
X owner Elon Musk weighed in on Vardkar’s promised crackdown, saying “ironically, the Irish PM hates the Irish people.”
Ironically, the Irish PM hates the Irish people
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 24, 2023