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O'Connell Street closed after last November's riots. Sam Boal via
District Court

Dublin riots: Man appears in court charged with setting fire to garda car

Dublin District Court heard it was among the ‘most serious scenes of public disorder’ that has ever occurred in the history of the State.

A MAN HAS been accused of setting fire to a Garda vehicle which contributed to “further acts of arson” during the Dublin riots last November.

Dublin District Court heard it was among the most serious and “largest scenes of public disorder that has ever occurred in the history of the State”.

It resulted from protests after an earlier incident where children and several people were injured.

Gardaí have already brought dozens of people before the courts on public order, weapons thefts and various other charges in connection with the rioting and looting on November 23 in the city centre.

However, Declan Donaghey, 27, from William’s Place, Upper Dorset Street, Dublin 1, and Kyle Lawrence, 18, of Lurgan Street, Dublin 7, were arrested on Wednesday and brought to Store Street Garda station where they were charged with various serious offences.

They were held overnight and appeared before Judge Bryan Smyth at Dublin District Court today.

He remanded them on strict bail to appear again on April 4, pending directions from the Director of Public Prosecutions about their trial venue.

Donaghey is accused of four offences at Parnell Street: arson by setting fire to a marked Garda vehicle, criminal damage of another Garda vehicle and throwing an object through the glass front window of a business, and violent disorder.

Detective Garda Michelle Fitzpatrick told the court Donaghey “made no reply to the charges”, and she objected to bail due to the seriousness of the case.

She told Judge Bryan Smyth that there had been protesters at the scene of the earlier crime, where several people and children were injured.

Gardaí also became aware of a protest at the Garden of Remembrance, and she said that what followed was “One of the most serious and largest scenes of public disorder that has ever occurred in the history of the State”.

There were deliberate acts of arson, looting and criminal damage, the court was told.

Fitzpatrick alleged Donaghey “set fire to a marked Garda patrol vehicle at Parnell Street at 6.45 pm”.

She added that “this was the first vehicle set alight, and it is the position of investigating gardaí that this act also contributed to acts further acts of arson throughout the evening”.

It was also alleged that Donaghey caused damage to another marked patrol vehicle by jumping on the bonnet and repeatedly stamping on the windscreen, causing it to smash and that he engaged in violent disorder.

Detective Garda Fitzpatrick claimed that gardaí traced Donaghey’s movements for over two hours, and there was video evidence of each offence. It was also expected that there would be further arrests.

Cross-examined by defence solicitor Tony Collier, she agreed that his client resided in the north inner city with his family all his life.

The detective said she did not consider Donaghey a flight risk and accepted that he had “significant ties to the jurisdiction” and his family were in court to support him.

Collier also said the accused was in a stable relationship.

The solicitor said that his client was unemployed and had applied for social welfare but was looking for work. He submitted that Donaghey, who was granted legal aid, did not have the resources to flee and live outside the jurisdiction.

Judge Smyth said they were very serious charges, but he held the court could grant bail with strict conditions.

Donaghey was remanded on his bond of €500 to appear again on April 4.

He ordered the accused to sign on at his local garda station daily, surrender his passport, provide gardaí with a contact phone number, and obey an 11 pm – 7 am curfew at his home address.

The second defendant, Lawrence, who is participating in an educational programme, faces 10 charges. He has five counts of burglary at Footlocker, Arnotts, JD Sports, Lifestyle, and Asics and two charges for violent disorder at Parnell Street and O’Connell St Lower.

Lawrence is also accused of attempted criminal damage at Penney’s, Mary Street, and two further acts of attempted criminal damage.

Detective Garda Alan O’Toole said Lawrence “made no reply after caution and was handed a true copy of each charge sheet”.

The detective did not object to his bail but asked the court “to impose strict conditions”.

Judge Smyth ordered him to continue his education programme, reside at his current address and notify gardaí of any change, engage fully with other services, sign on three days a week at a garda station, and obey a 9 pm – 7 am curfew.

He must remain contactable by phone to inform garda if he changes his phone. The detective said that Lawrence’s mobile phone had been seized as part of the investigation but would returned to him after the court hearing.

His barrister, Barry Lysaght, told the court there was consent to the bail terms sought and a nine-week adjournment.

Counsel submitted that his client was a suitable candidate for legal aid, which was granted.

Judge Smyth informed the defendants that breaching the terms could result in applications to revoke bail, and they could be remanded in custody.

They spoke once during the hearings, each saying “yes” to indicate they understood the judge’s warning about bail terms compliance. They have yet to indicate how they will plead.

The unrest in the city erupted after a girl, aged five, was severely wounded in a stabbing at Parnell Square on the afternoon of November 23.

Two other children and crèche worker, Leanne Flynn Keogh, from Dublin, were also injured.

Riad Bouchaker, 50, who has no fixed abode, was charged on December 21 with the attempted murders of two girls and a boy, as well assault and production of the 36-centimetre knife. He remains in custody on remand pending trial.