HUMZA Yousaf has said the narrative of extremism must be challenged from wherever it emerges after riots in the Irish capital last night following a knife attack in which three children and a woman were injured.

The First Minister praised the Garda for “running towards danger” as he spoke at a press conference after a British Irish Council meeting in the Irish capital today.

A total of 34 people have been arrested after a night of violence following a stabbing incident near a school in Dublin city centre. More arrests are expected.

Ireland’s police chief Drew Harris blamed the rioting on a “lunatic, hooligan faction driven by a far-right ideology”.

The Herald: Left to right) Alfred Cannan Chief Minister from the Isle of Man Government, First Minister Mark Drakeford from the Welsh Government, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar from the Irish Government, Michael Gove Secretary of State for Levelling Up from the the UK Government, First Minister Humza Yousaf from the Scottish Government and Chief Minister Kristina Moore from the Government of Jersey at a press conference during the British-Irish Council (BIC) summit at Dublin Castle. Picture date: Friday November 24, 2023.

Asked about the rise of far-right extremism Mr Yousaf expressed Scotland’s “shock and sorrow” about the knife attack and subsequent violence.

He said: “I want to pay tribute to the Garda for police officers running towards danger when the rest of us would run away from danger, doing their job diligently in terms of keeping the people of Dublin safe.

“We all have to be, not just aware of, but appropriately challenging the narrative of any extremists.

“Whether they are on the far right or elsewhere and challenging any narrative that seeks to divide us as communities.

The Herald: Caio Benicio, a fast-food courier, was riding past the scene and stopped to intervene to help stop the attack on children.

“From a Scottish perspective, we have been a country which has benefited both because we’re a nation which has invited and welcomed immigrants to our country but also because we are a nation of migrants ourselves.”

He said the incidents of the past 24 hours would be a real test of any nation’s character.

“I’ve got no doubt at all that the Irish republic will absolutely step up, as they already have and come together as one to express solidarity with the victims affected yesterday afternoon but come together in their complete revulsion at the scenes of disorder and those who try to exploit such incidents for their own nefarious purposes.”

Making a statement earlier, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said a five-year-old girl and a care assistant injured in the knife attack in Dublin on Thursday remain in a critical condition in hospital.

He strongly condemned the attack and the rioting that broke out afterwards and said Dublin witnessed "two terrible attacks" on Thursday. He said 500 people were involved in the disorder.

The Herald: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

"The first was an attack on innocent children, the second an attack on our society and the rule of law," he said, as he addressed reporters at Dublin Castle.

"Each attack brought shame to our society and disgrace to those involved and incredible pain to those caught up in the violence. As Taoiseach, I want to say to a nation that is unsettled and afraid, this is not who we are, this is not where we want to be, and this is not who we will ever be."

Mr Varadkar hailed those of multiple nationalities who intervened to stop the stabbing attack as it unfolded, describing them as "real Irish heroes".

"Yesterday evening, some people decided that the best way to respond to this terrible attack was to take to the streets of Dublin and try to terrify, intimidate, loot and destroy," said the Taoiseach.

"Their first reaction to a five-year-old child being stabbed was to burn our city, attack its businesses and assault our gardai.

"As a result of their actions, buses and trams were set on fire, innocent passers-by were intimidated and pregnant women in Rotunda Hospital were made to feel unsafe and in danger. These people claim to be defending Irish citizens, yet they put in danger the newest and most vulnerable and most innocent people.

"Those involved brought shame on Dublin, brought shame on Ireland and brought shame on their families and themselves. These criminals did not do what they did because they love Ireland. They did not do what they did because they wanted to protect Irish people. They did not do it out of any sense of patriotism, however warped. They did so because they're filled with hate, they love violence, they love chaos and they love causing pain to others."

UK Secretary of State for Levelling Up Michael Gove said the events in Dublin were “shocking because it’s so rare in Ireland”.

He said: “It’s a mark of Ireland that the Garda responded so quickly, and it’s mark of Ireland that there’s been near universal revulsion at what happened and all of that, I think, is testament to the strength of Ireland’s democracy.”

Ireland’s Justice Minister Helen McEntee said the police response to rioting in Dublin on Thursday evening saw the largest ever deployment of gardai in a public order situation.