THE chief suspect for the stabbing attack that killed 16-year-old Josh Dunne has been arrested by gardai tonight.
A Brazilian national, who lives in the north inner city, was arrested by detectives from Store Street Garda Station.
Senior sources said officers were not looking for anyone else in connection with the murder.
Josh Dunne (16) died after being stabbed three times during a public order incident in Dublin’s north inner city shortly after 9pm on Tuesday.
Football clubs that the talented teenager played for, including Dundee United and Bohemians FC, have led tributes to him.
Detectives believe Josh and his friends came across two people assaulting a 23-year-old man who was accused of stealing a delivery cyclist’s bike.
As Josh and a 16-year-old friend attempted to calm the situation, the pair were stabbed three times each and seriously injured during the incident on East Road, East Wall.
They were both rushed to the Mater Hospital in Dublin where Josh was later pronounced dead.
The 23-year-old male also suffered stab wounds to his back and required hospital treatment. Gardaí are due to quiz him over the alleged bike theft.
“This incident escalated from the alleged theft of a bike to a fatal stabbing. The teenager killed had absolutely nothing to do with the initial incident and appears to have been trying to calm the situation when he was stabbed,” a senior source said.
Tributes have poured in for the murder victim, who played for several prestigious clubs over the years.
The director of football at St Kevin’s Boys FC said that Josh would have been training at the time he was stabbed if the club wasn’t closed due to Covid restrictions. Ken Donohoe told the Irish Independent that the death has shocked him, the club, and the Ballymun community deeply.
“It was a huge shock. Nobody can believe it. It’s terrible that any young boy would be taken like this, but because he was close to us we feel it deeply,” he said.
He described the Ballymun teen as a ‘natural talent’ on the playing field. “He was a very, very, very good player.
Football was a focus in his life. He had a totally natural talent. These things aren’t just coached into being. Josh had a talent and we were just advising and guiding him,” he explained.
“He was a popular and happy-go-lucky lad, and his managers Mark Tierney and Gerry Reddy describe him as an absolute natural and a popular lad with no discipline problems,” Mr Donohoe added.
“It’s just difficult to comprehend that such a good kid could be taken from us. I can’t think how his poor mother is feeling,” he said.
Mr Donohoe said Dundee United were keen on Joshua’s talents, having spotted him play. “They were monitoring his progress,” he explained.
In a statement the Scottish Premiership side, where he was on trial in 2019, said: “We are deeply saddened to hear of the tragic passing of Josh Dunne.
“Josh was a trialist with our Foyle Cup & Super Cup squads in 2019 where he was warmly welcomed and respected by players and staff.
“Our thoughts and best wishes are with his family and friends.”
Bohemians FC paid tribute to Josh saying: “Everyone at Bohemians is devastated to learn of the death of Bohs-SKB player Josh Dunne in tragic circumstances.
“Josh was a talented young footballer who will be sadly missed by former team-mates and coaches.
“We extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends.”
Tolka AFC said: “We are deeply saddened to hear the tragic news of Josh Dunne. “It was a privilege to have him play for Tolka Rovers FC and to watch him play football under the guidance of Coco, Kev and James.
“Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this very sad time. “Rest in Peace Josh.”