Seven Dublin men who were involved in a violent disorder on board a LUAS tram have received fully suspended sentences.
The violence broke out on a tram on which members of a far-right anti-Islam organisation were travelling to a demonstration. One of the convicted men, Sean Kindillon (28), said he was on his way into the city centre to protest against the group when the trouble broke out and he stepped in.
Jamal Garamanli (30) told gardaí he felt his friend Kindillon was being attacked and stepped in to defend him. He said he was against “racist and fascist” groups and had been attacked in the past by people of that leaning.
None of the members of the far-right organisation on board the tram were charged with offences relating to the incident.
Kindillon and Garamanli, both of Oranmore Road, Ballyfermot each pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to violent disorder at Chancery Street, Dublin 7, on February 6, 2016.
Ian Baker (41) of Grangemore Park, Donaghmede, Patrick Dunne (33) of Ushers Quay, Michael Farrell (27) of Clarion Quay Lower, Mayor Street, Jamie Whelan (25) of Sycamore Road, Finglas and Andrew Byrne (22) of Rollins Court, Sallynoggin also pleaded guilty to the same offence.
Sergeant Colin Davidson told John Berry BL, prosecuting, that on the date in question members of a far-right anti-Islam organisation were to gather on O’Connell Street for a demonstration.
Sgt Davidson said three members of the Irish branch of the group were on board the LUAS Red Line tram travelling towards this demonstration. The violent disorder broke out after six of the accused men boarded the LUAS at the Smithfield stop.
CCTV footage of the incident was played before the court. Sgt Davidson said that two men suffered injuries to the head and that the incident created somewhat of a panic among other passengers which caused them to rush off the LUAS.
Sgt Davidson identified each of the seven accused in the footage as taking part in the incident. He said Dunne could be seen striking a man with an umbrella and Byrne could be seen aiming a kick at a man after stepping onto the LUAS, although he could not confirm if the kick connected.
Philip Ryan, the driver of the LUAS in question, gave a statement to gardaí in which he described seeing the fear in elderly passenger’s eyes after the incident began. Mr Ryan said the way passengers left the carriages was as if someone had gotten on board and said they had a bomb.
Sgt Davidson told the court he does not know what the catalyst for the altercation was.
Judge Martin Nolan said that all of the men were working, had good prospects and had expressed remorse. He said he would not be justified in imprisoning any of the men at this time.
Judge Nolan sentenced all of the accused to two years imprisonment, but suspended the sentence in its entirety on strict conditions. He also ordered that six of the men collect €2,500 within 18 months and that Byrne collect €1,500 within the same period which will be transferred to a charity.