Wednesday 11 December 2019

Man due to appear in court charged in connection with Leinster House incident involving 'sword and three knives'

Junior minister Sean Sherlock
Junior minister Sean Sherlock

Emma Jane Hade, Niall O'Connor and Luke Byrne

A 19-year-old man is due to appear in court charged in connection with an incident in Leinster House yesterday

A man armed with a sword attempted to enter Leinster House yesterday evening.

Gardai in Pearse St investigating an incident  have charged the man and he will appear before the Criminal Courts of Justice at 10.30am today.

A garda received minor injuries in the efforts to arrest the man.

Gardai in Pearse Street arrested the man on suspicion of possession of Offensive weapon.

A TD who witnessed a man armed with a sword and four knives try to storm Leinster House described it like "something out of a movie".

Junior Minister Sean Sherlock, below, said he was shocked when a 19-year-old armed with several dangerous weapons ran past him, just feet from the main door of Leinster House, shortly after 4.30pm yesterday.

The assailant made it past the plinth and was just feet from the revolving doors at the front of the building when he was "rugby tackled to the ground" by at least four members of the gardai, according to a source.

One member of the gardai sustained a minor injury.

It is understood that the male was armed with a two-foot long sword and four knives, and gained access to the highly secure grounds through the main vehicle gate when it opened briefly.

Mr Sherlock, a Labour TD, said that he wasn't particularly scared, but that he did think "what am I going to do here if he turns on me?", as he witnessed the man advancing upon the building waving the weapon in the air.

"I was standing just off the plinth, a matter of yards away from the revolving doors about to go into a meeting around 4.30pm, when all of a sudden, this guy comes running past me," the Cork representative explained.

He said that the young man was a "tall, strong and robust looking guy", and that he was "brandishing" the sword about.

It is also understood that a number of the knives may have been concealed in his boots.

"It was a bit mad, it was a bit surreal," he added.

Witnesses said that the weapon appeared to be a "thin, kind of fencing or cavalry" sabre, and was decorated with an ornate handle.

"He was subdued by at least four guards. A squad car pulled up and he resisted a bit as he was put in the car by two guards. They put the weapons in the boot of the car and that was it," another witness added.

The man was arrested.

Sources at Leinster House revealed that they initially became suspicious of the suspect after he was seen "lurking" outside the building.

It is understood that he spoke with an Irish accent and was wearing a distinctive pair of boots, jeans and hooded jumper at the time of the incident.

Mr Sherlock last night praised the quick actions of the gardai and Leinster House during the dramatic moment.

The Dail was not in session yesterday and many public representatives were canvassing around the country.

Irish Independent

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