Dominican friars in Dublin say they are praying for all involved after a stabbing incident at a nearby Catholic school in the bustling city center of Ireland’s capital.
An eyewitness described to state broadcaster RTÉ a scene of terror after three children and their teacher, a woman in her 30s, were stabbed near the school Nov. 23.
The attack occurred shortly after 1 p.m. near Parnell Square, just off the city’s main boulevard O’Connell Street.
The three children, who were lining up in front of their crèche prior to the incident, have been taken to hospital. A 5-year-old girl is in a critical condition at Temple Street Children’s Hospital. Her teacher is also in a serious condition.
In total five people have been hospitalized, including a 50-year-old male suspect who has been arrested. Irish media reported the police ruled out a terror motive.
The Catholic school is an Irish language-speaking school called Cólaiste Mhuire, which means St. Mary’s College. It is just 1,300 feet from the nearby Dominican priory of St. Saviour’s.
Dominican Father Conor McDonough, who is based at the priory which serves as the student house of formation for the Irish province of the Order of Preachers, told OSV News of the community’s shock.
“These events took place very near the Dominican church of St. Saviour’s in the north inner city. The whole community here are praying for all involved,” Father McDonough said.
The eyewitness told RTÉ that the kids were out walking: “All of a sudden one of them fell to the ground, then another fell to the ground, then another falls to the ground.”
“Then this guy started running past,” the eyewitness said.
The alleged assailant was armed with a knife and fell to the ground whereupon “a load of people jumped on him,” the eyewitness recalled.
Siobhan Kearney who was on the scene told RTÉ, “People were trying to attack the man. So me and an American lady formed a ring around him saying we’d wait on the Garda,” referring to the national police, An Garda Síochána.
The witness said, “The police were on the scene pretty quickly. An undercover garda came running up and intervened.”
The Irish prime minister, known as the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, issued a statement shortly after the alleged attack.
“We are all shocked by the incident which has taken place in Parnell Square,” he wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“A number of people have been injured, some of them children. Our thoughts and our prayers go out to them and their families,” he said.
According to RTÉ, Ireland’s Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said the attack in Dublin city center is “an attack on innocence itself.”
McEntee said she had spoken to Garda Commissioner Drew Harris and the police are not looking for anyone else in relation to the attack.
McEntee said her thoughts are with the “the children, their carer, their families and the wider school community.”