While the foundational story of the modern Irish state is one of throwing off British oppression, Dublin has been quick to request the loan of water cannon from a United Kingdom police force.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland, one of 43 police forces in the United Kingdom has responded to a request for mutual aid from the Republic of Ireland and has delivered two water cannons. The high-pressure devices are truck-mounted and operated by police forces to pacify protests and riots.
Given the appliances are not, conceptually, unlike a militarised fire engine they are also useful for putting out rioters’ fires while subduing unrest.
The Belfast Telegraph reports while the two water cannon were provided on loan from the United Kingdom, if they are deployed against protests in Dublin they will be driven by officers from the Republic of Ireland’s own police force, the Garda.
The cannon arrived on the backs of low-loader trucks from Northern Ireland on Friday night. Irish police say they believe there will be further protests at the weekend and have deployed extra officers in anticipation.
Thurday’s protests, which turned to riots, were said to be the worst disturbances in Dublin in years and followed a mass stabbing attack against a group of schoolchildren on Thursday afternoon. Five were injured including three children and one teacher who used her body to shield students from the knifeman. The teacher and one child remain in critical condition.
Soon after the attack claims spread that the knifeman was a migrant, and it was later reported the suspect, a man in his 40s, received Irish citizenship in 2014. Police have said they are keeping all lines of inquiry open and continue to investigate the possible motivation for trying to kill a group of children.
The Irish political establishment has reacted with fury at the anti-mass migration sentiments expressed during the protests, with the Irish Prime Minister spending several times longer during his speech on events on Friday morning criticising those who protested against the stabbing of children, than he did criticising the stabbing of children.