The archbishop of Dublin and Dominican friars called for prayer amid riots that roiled the Irish capital last week in response to a stabbing attack at a Catholic school that injured three children and an adult.
A 5-year-old girl remains in critical condition Monday after being stabbed last Thursday outside the Coláiste Mhuire primary school, according to the Irish Independent. A 6-year-old girl and a 5-year-old boy were also stabbed but have since been released from the hospital.
Dominican Father Conor McDonough, who serves at the priory about 1,300 feet from the school where the attack took place, said all of them are shocked and "the whole community here are praying for all involved," according to OSV.
Archbishop of Dublin Dermot Farrell echoed McDonough's sentiments.
“It was with utter disbelief that I heard the news of the horrific attack on Parnell Square here in Dublin," he said on Nov. 23, according to Catholic News Agency. "An attack like this outside a school, involving innocent victims including children, is particularly distressing."
“I invite the people of Dublin to join me in praying especially for the recovery of those who have been injured. Grant them strength to endure this awful attack, and grant each of us the grace to live our lives in holiness, free from all violence.”
The suspect in the stabbing, who has yet to be identified by Irish police, is an Algerian man in his 50s who was previously arrested in 2003, according to the Sunday Times. He reportedly became a naturalized Irish citizen in 2008 after his deportation order was revoked following a review by Ireland's High Court.
"He was due to be deported 20 years ago, but fought the order for five years," according to a Department of Justice source who spoke to the Sunday Times. "He eventually obtained an Irish passport. He is a naturalized Irish citizen."
The suspect also appeared before the District Court in Dublin in June after being charged with possessing a knife and criminally damaging a car, according to the Times.
The suspect had been incensed over his social welfare payments, according to Sunday World.
Riots that erupted in the Irish capital in the wake of the stabbing attack led to a double-decker bus being lit on fire and businesses being ransacked. In addition to the suspect, Irish police reportedly arrested 34 people in Dublin in relation to the riots.
Irish politicians have since aimed their rhetoric against the rioters, accusing them of being driven by the "far-right."
“We have a complete lunatic hooligan faction driven by far-right ideology, and also then this disruptive tendency engaged in serious violence,” Ireland's top police officer Drew Harris said, according to The Associated Press.
“The scenes we are witnessing this evening in our city center cannot and will not be tolerated,” Justice Minister Helen McEntee said. “A thuggish and manipulative element must not be allowed to use an appalling tragedy to wreak havoc.”
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar condemned the riots and assured that police would resist the "waves of ignorance and criminality," according to The New York Times.
"Those involved have brought shame on Dublin, brought shame on Ireland and brought shame on their families and themselves," Varadkar said. "This is not who we are. This is not who we want to be, and this is not who we will ever be."
Jon Brown is a reporter for The Christian Post. Send news tips to email@example.com