Thursday 12 December 2019

Gardai fight to restrain man armed with sword and four knives who attempted to storm Dail

Luke Byrne and Emma Jane Hade

FOUR gardai fought to restrain a 19-year-old man after he made it to the front doors of Leinster House brandishing a “cavalry type” sword.

The sword is believed to date from the first World War and belonging to a relative of the young man.

It’s believed that the man could have harmed TDs and staff if he managed to get into Leinster House.

A number of senior ministers, including Joan Burton and Phil Hogan, were understood to be in the building when the suspect entered the grounds through the open car gates.

Junior Minister Sean Sherlock witnessed the entire incident which he described as “surreal”.

“I just kind of found myself thinking at the time ‘what am I going to do here if he turns on me?’” he told the Herald.

“He wasn’t shouting, he wasn’t roaring, but by the time he had got to the revolving door the security system had kicked in and the building went into lockdown.”

The suspect was carrying a 2ft long sabre, along with four knives concealed in his boots, when gardai were forced to restrain him.

The individual was waving the weapon around and one member of the gardai suffered minor injuries in the arrest.

It is unclear what the man’s intentions were, however, it appeared that he was trying to enter the building before he was apprehended.

There were a small number of people on the plinth of Leinster House when the man entered at around 4.50pm yesterday, including junior minister Sean Sherlock.

He told the Herald how he was not afraid as the attacker came near to him.

“I can’t say that I was scared. But the whole scene is so surreal and he was just a matter of feet away from me,” he said.

Another witness told the Herald how the man was restrained by four members of the gardai after he was tackled.

He described the man as “a big lad” who looked older than his age. He was wearing heavy boots and jeans and the sword appeared to be quite old.

“It was a very thin, kind of fencing sword, or a cavalry sword. It was about two-foot long, was old and the handle was very ornate,” the witness said about the weapon.

“He was subdued by at least four guards. He was a big lad.”

The suspect was taken to Pearse Street garda station and was last night being detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984.

He was arrested in possession of offensive weapons.

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