The Taoiseach has warned against resignations as a response to last week's riots as those behind the violence would "see it as a victory and it may even embolden them".

Leo Varadkar was speaking after Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald accused Minister for Justice Helen McEntee of failing in her responsibilities and demanded the Taoiseach remove her from office.

Speaking in the Dáil, Deputy McDonald said the minister and the Garda Commissioner "lost control" of Dublin city centre last Thursday and she had "zero confidence" in their ability to deal with the matter.

However, Mr Varadkar told the Dáil during statements on last Thursday's events in Dublin that "interfering in who gets appointed to, or are removed from positions such as Garda Commissioner, should not be taken lightly".

He added: "And here in this chamber, we've seen justice ministers have their reputations destroyed, the chamber and opposition acting as judge, jury and executioner, only for those justice ministers to be vindicated at a later date. And I don't believe that should happen again."

Mary Lou McDonald said the justice minister and the Garda Commissioner 'lost control' of the city centre

Expressing confidence in his party colleague, he said: "Minister McEntee has seen how much work she can get done as minister for justice and she'll be doing plenty more."

Ms McDonald had said that for years the public and businesses had all been saying that there were not enough gardaí on the streets of the capital but the Government 'wasn't listening'."

She contended that Dublin city centre "hasn't been safe for some time" with visible dealing, drug use and gangs loitering due to a depletion of Garda numbers, adding that Minister McEntee was "not the person to restore public confidence."

In reply, Mr Varadkar said he had "full confidence" in the gardaí, in Garda management and the Minister of Justice.

He accused the Sinn Féin leader of "playing politics" with last Thursday's events, in that she was "looking for heads" rather than focusing on policy, which would make people feeling safe in Dublin.

Mr Varadkar said the Government would ensure there were more gardaí, better equipment and more prison places.

He said this was already "under way" but would be "accelerated."

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has been accused by Sinn Féin of failing in her responsibilities

The Taoiseach said that Minister McEntee had been leading on the issue of crime, was extremely active, and he pointed to the fact that gang-related crime was down in 2023 and "a lot of that is down to her work."

Ms McDonald claimed that the Taoiseach was not listening to communities, parents or businesses and suggested that what happened last Thursday in Dublin were political failures.

She said public confidence "is at rock bottom" and suggested Mr Varadkar needed to "do something about it" as Ms McEntee "is not the person to given the leadership at this critical time".

Ms McDonald accused Ms McEntee of "the most brazen arse-covering" that she has ever witnessed in the Dáil.

Ms McDonald said Ms McEntee was delivering a "fig leaf" in response to "a wholesale abject failure of leadership".

"Don't come in here and play a game of make-believe," she told Ms McEntee, after discounting the minister's claims to have improved two garda stations in the city centre.

"You could literally be about to breathe your last breath" and the solitary "unfortunate" in the O'Connell Street office could not leave their desk and come out to help, Ms McDonald said.

Mícheál Martin, left, was speaking to reporters at the British-Irish Intergovernment Conference

Tánaiste and Fianna Fail leader Mícheál Martin claimed Sinn Fein has been trying to "exploit" the fallout from the Dublin riots by calling for Ms McEntee to resign as minister for justice.

Speaking to reporters at the British-Irish Intergovernment Conference at Farmleigh House in Dublin, the Tánaiste criticised attempts to turn what happened into a political crisis.

Asked about Sinn Féin calls for Ms McEntee to resign, Mr Martin said Irish politics is not split "between people who want to resolve issues and people who want to exploit them".

He said that Sinn Féin "exploit" situations and said calls for Minister McEntee to resign are in his view the latest examples of this approach.

Asked if he believed Ms McEntee would survive a mooted no confidence motion, the Tánaiste said he has "absolute confidence in the minister for justice".

He said any motion, if it is tabled, would be a "knee jerk" response to what happened in Dublin last Thursday.

Asked if he believed all of his party would agree, the Tánaiste again said "yes" and that he believed Ms McEntee would survive.

Independent review into Dublin riots 'will be considered' - Varadkar

The Taoiseach has said a suggestion from the Labour Party that an independent review by the Garda Inspectorate be carried out into the violence in Dublin last Thursday will be considered.

Speaking during Leaders' Questions in the Dáil, Mr Varadkar thanked party leader Ivana Bacik for her "constructive" remarks.

Labour demanded accountability for the violence and accused members of the Oireachtas of contributing to the spread of disinformation.

"There are people in this house and in the Seanad who have used language about immigration that has undoubtedly contributed to the spread of that disinformation. And I hope that those individuals - and they know who they are - are reflecting today," Deputy Bacik said.

She said that the violence underlined the crisis in policing, and dismissed a comment by the Garda Commissioner, saying that it was "not credible" to claim that the violence could not have been foreseen.

"Commissioner Harris asserted that nobody could have anticipated the riots, but Taoiseach, that's simply not credible," she said.

Deputy Bacik criticised "grandstanding" and "play-acting" by a Fianna Fáil senator, and said that there was "a whole of Government failing" that must be acknowledged.

"Everyone in this house is aware of the hate and disinformation that has been spread, particularly about immigration," she said.

Mr Varadkar agreed with her concerns over remarks made in Leinster House, saying that "some of what has been said has stirred up prejudices".

Deputy Bacik said that she wanted to "commend those who's courageous interventions prevented even more devastation", along with gardaí and those who cleaned up.

The taoiseach agreed, and said that "many more people could've been injured and perhaps killed if those brave people not gone with their instincts intervened in the way they did".

He met some of them on Sunday night, he added.

Fine Gael party meeting

The Taoiseach tonight told a party meeting that he never wanted any part of the country to ever experience what happened in Dublin last Thursday.

Mr Varadkar said there was no excuse for what occurred, and everyone needed to stand with the inner-city community.

The Fine Gael leader said he wanted people to feel safe on the streets of the capital.

Four public order units comprising of 42 garda officers, six sergeants and two inspectors will now be based in the city centre until Christmas, he said.

Fine Gael TDs and Senators told the meeting that those who attacked gardaí, looted businesses and torched public vehicles must be properly punished.

There were calls on the judiciary to hand down tougher sentences.

Suspended sentences for people with dozens of convictions were meaningless, the meeting heard.

Additional reporting: Fiachra Ó Cionnaith, Mícheál Lehane, PA