Businesses count costs of riots in Dublin city centre

Pictured is a burned Luas carriage on O'Connell Street in Dublin this morning, as the clean up operation gets underway following the riot last night. (Photograph:

Clean-up operation began in earnest this morning following violent scenes in Dublin city centre last night



24 November 2023

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While Black Friday is usually one of the busiest shopping days in the lead- up to Christmas, scenes of chaos and violence last night in Dublin by rioters and looters have scuppered retailers’ plans.

Videos on social media showed people breaking into shops, including Foot Locker while looters also raided Arnotts Department Store on Henry Street.

In total, 13 shops were damaged in Dublin city centre last night.

Arnotts had been due to stay open until 9pm last night, but closed earlier and was later the target of looters. The department store opened for business from midday today until 6pm, following last night’s chaotic events.

According to a spokesperson, staff worked through the night to prepare the premises for the reopening this afternoon.

RTE News reported that an estimated €100m was forecast to be spent by shoppers in the capital today alone, but Black Friday sales in Dublin have been seriously curtailed, due to people making the decision to avoid Dublin city centre today.

A “significant” garda presence could be seen on the city centre’s streets this morning, particularly around the area where the violent scenes occurred.

Neil McDonnell, chief executive of small and medium business representative group ISME, said a huge amount of damage was done in Dublin city at the busiest time of year.

He said shops do 20-25% of their annual business in the weeks leading up to Christmas, and this is a desperately worrying time for businesses impacted by riots and looting last night.

He added that business groups have met with Minister Neale Richmond at the Retail Forum and have told him of how fearful staff feel at work.

“They are subject to abuse, including racist abuse by people who don’t feel any need to comply with the law,” McDonnell said.

“There is a real concern out there that the legal system is far too accommodating to the sort of thuggery we saw yesterday which manifests itself in smaller ways on a daily basis, and people just don’t feel the law is on their side.”

McDonnell said a number of retail outlets will not see sales today and instead face a substantial repair bill and an insurance problem before they can get back to normal business activity.

During the meeting with Minister Neale Richmond, retailers stressed the need to increase visibility of gardaí and also called for more prison places.

They added that shopping centres need to employ security staff and that levels of criminality must be taken seriously as incidents happen every single day.



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