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ISME Response to Dublin Riots

Retail staff are not afraid of immigrants, they are afraid of unrestrained thuggery


Dublin – 24th November 2023: Yesterday’s violent assault on a woman and three children, followed by a night of rioting and looting, will come as no surprise to thousands of retail workers in Dublin who live in fear of this behaviour on a daily basis.

Retail representatives met with Minister Neale Richmond, Department of Enterprise staff and Community Gardaí at the Retail Forum in September where there was a frank and blunt exchange of views on what is happening in retail outlets. Representatives noted:

  • The need to increase visibility of Gardaí.
  • The increase in the number of staff on sick leave because of assaults etc.
  • A problem with juveniles 13-15 years.
  • The need for extra prison places, to tackle the “revolving door.”
  • Levels of criminality must be taken seriously, incidents happening every single day by organised gangs.
  • Issues with on street drinking and drug use and vacant properties.
  • Shopping Centres need to employ security staff.
  • Impacting retail careers.
  • Retail staff being videoed in store.

Neil McDonnell, CEO, ISME said: “Retail staff are not afraid of immigrants, they are afraid of unrestrained thuggery, violence and theft that occurs daily in their stores. One representative noted that stores were keeping the anti-covid plastic screening in their shops to prevent assaults and spitting at their staff.”

Gardaí acknowledged that most stores employ a “no challenge” policy with shoplifters. This means they do not stop shoplifters stealing goods, because if they do, they will be sued by the same shoplifters for defamation, false imprisonment, or discrimination under the equality act.”

Another representative at the meeting noted that the social contract between business and the state had broken down; meaning that not alone did the state no longer protect stores and their workers, but the legal system gave legal aid to perpetrators who in some cases had dozens of convictions. A minority of members of the legal profession are happy to represent these serial perpetrators in suing the victims of their crimes for defamation or discrimination.

Our Judiciary and our prison system must take a serious look at their roles in permitting an erosion of confidence in the rule of law.

The minutes of the September Retail Forum are available here: