Young man took part in riot at children’s detention centre

By Fiona Ferguson & Sonya McLean

A young man who took part in a riot in a detention centre which led to millions of euro worth of damage has been jailed for four years for this and other offences.

Thomas Green (20) of La Touche Road, Bluebell pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to arson at Oberstown Children Detention Campus on August 29, 2016.

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Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

He also pleaded guilty to two charges of unlawful use of a vehicle on October 8, 2018 and December 12, 2018. Finally he admitted robbery of two mobiles and cash and unlawful use of a car committed on December 6, 2018.  He has 93 previous convictions.

Judge Martin Nolan said Green had a serious record of conviction and seemed to have a drug problem.

He noted he was still young and the courts always hope people will see the light and stop committing offences. He imposed a total of five years imprisonment and suspended the final year.

The court heard that Green was part of a group of teenagers who engaged in “damage and mayhem” at Oberstown Children Detention Campus during an industrial strike in August 2016.

Judge Nolan has previously heard that €3 million worth of damage was caused to the unit. A further €500,000 worth of damage was caused to other units when inmates ransacked it, smashing televisions and windows.

The teenagers escaped from their bedrooms after getting a hold of keys. Initially three youths were let out of their rooms before two further teenagers escaped when the windows of their rooms were smashed in and they were encouraged to get involved.

Last November, Shane Farrelly (20) of  Ben Madigan Road, Drimnagh a co-accused of Green’s in the riot, was jailed for two years after he pleaded guilty to one count of public disorder and two counts of damaging property at a unit in the detention centre.

Three of the other youths, who also pleaded guilty to arson, were previously jailed for five years, with the final two years suspended.

Garda Ross Rowan told Garrett McCormack BL, prosecuting, that Green was on the roof of Oberstown, along with the other inmates, for almost 12 hours. Members of the garda armed support unit and fire brigade made numerous efforts to get the group down but missiles were thrown at them.

He agreed that Green can be seen on CCTV footage “playing an active role in the entire incident and involving himself in the acts of arson”.

Garda Rowan agreed with Patrick Gageby SC, defending, that Green didn’t start the incident. After his arrest he admitted his involvement and apologised to both the gardai and the staff of the detention centre.

Mr Gageby told Judge Nolan that his client was a bright boy who had the support of his mother.

He asked the court to accept that this may mark a turning point in his life during which he could “turn his hand to more useful things”.

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