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‘You just act’: Ireland salutes ‘heroes’ of Dublin knife attack

A five-year-old girl sustained serious injuries, while two other children and two adults had lesser injuries
A five-year-old girl sustained serious injuries, while two other children and two adults had lesser injuries - Copyright AFP
A five-year-old girl sustained serious injuries, while two other children and two adults had lesser injuries - Copyright AFP
Peter MURPHY

A Brazilian delivery driver and a young French chef were among the “heroes” Ireland saluted Friday for subduing a knife-wielding assailant suspected of attacking children outside a Dublin school. 

“They are the real Irish heroes, whatever their nationality — Irish, Brazilian, Italian,” Ireland Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said of Thursday’s attack, which was followed by an anti-immigrant riot by right-wing youths.

A five-year-old girl sustained serious injuries and remains in hospital. 

Two other children and two adults — a woman and the suspected perpetrator — were taken to hospital with lesser injuries.

Caio Benicio, a Brazilian driver for the Deliveroo takeaway app, used his helmet to stop the attacker as he allegedly stabbed three children and a woman.

Benicio, a 43-year old father of two from Rio de Janeiro, said he was riding past the Parnell Square scene of the attack when he saw what looked like a fight.

“I just pulled up my motorcycle and I saw him stabbing her many times in the chest,” the former restaurant owner told the Irish Daily Mirror.

He took off his helmet and started hitting the attacker.

“I hit him in the head and he fell on the ground,” Benicio added.

“After that I hit him a couple of times and then after that people came and started to kick him.”

– ‘You just act’ –

“When you see a little kid, five years old, with a man with a knife, you just act,” Benicio said.   

Benicio was aided in disarming the attacker by a trainee chef from France, who has been in Dublin on an internship at the Spitalfields restaurant since October. 

The 17-year-old student, who suffered minor injuries to his hand and face, received a congratulatory phone call from French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday.

“The president called him to congratulate him and thank him for this act of bravery that saved lives and made us all proud,” the presidential office told AFP.

The restaurant where he works also paid tribute on Instagram. 

“This is our own 17-year-old super hero…” the restaurant wrote, alongside his picture.

“He noticed something happening as he passed by and selflessly jumped in to stop the attacker and managed to wrestle the knife off him,” it added.

Rumours on social media about the nationality of the assailant, who police only described as a man in his fifties, fuelled tension. 

A mob — described as made up of right-wing youths — later broke through the police cordon around the attack area in north central Dublin and went on the rampage.

Multiple police officers were injured, 34 people arrested and several cars torched by the time calm was restored around midnight. 

Benicio, who moved to Ireland so that he could support his family after his restaurant burned down, said the riot that erupted “doesn’t make sense”.

“They are protesting about foreign people — about immigrants — I am an immigrant.”

AFP
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With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

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