Six sentenced over violent protest in Mountjoy

SIX MEN have been sentenced over a violent protest in Mountjoy Prison in which five prison officers were injured.

The incident was captured on CCTV footage, although efforts had been made to damage the cameras and obscure their vision by throwing paint at them.

The court heard prison officers had to equip themselves with riot gear during the incident. Damage costing more than €142,000, excluding labour, was caused in the incident, which involved more than 20 prisoners.

Judge Desmond Hogan described what happened as a “violent protest over new search methods and security instigated by the prison authorities”, which the inmates “took exception to”.

Defence lawyers claimed the protest had started out peacefully.

John Paul Kelly, Mark Dignam, Brian Ormonde, Michael Ward, Edward Keogh and Paul O’Reilly had all pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to violent disorder at Mountjoy Prison on July 12th, 2008.

Keogh and Ormonde were given consecutive sentences, which must be added on to the jail terms they are already serving. The others were given sentences that are to be served concurrently.

During the earlier hearing, the court had heard the incident took place in a recreation area near workshops in the prison.

There was to be a sit-down protest against new search procedures.

As the protest escalated, snooker balls were thrown and two televisions were smashed.

Lengths of timber were also thrown at officers, one of whom had his jaw dislocated and teeth broken. Most of the officers suffered inhalation-type injuries from the use of fire extinguishers against them.

Kelly (25), of Cherrywood Villas, Clondalkin, whose activities Judge Hogan was told should be regarded as “in the higher category”, was sentenced to three years with the last 21 months suspended.

Dignam (34), of Meath Place, Earl Street, Dublin, whose activities the judge said were “of a higher gravity”, although he was “not regarded as a ringleader”, was sentenced to three years with the last 24 months suspended.

Ormonde (28), of Coolatree Road, Beaumont, Dublin, was sentenced to two years with the last 18 months suspended as the judge noted his involvement was at the lower end of the scale.

Similarly, Ward (21), of Bawnlea Drive, Tallaght, was given two years with the last 18 months suspended for “involvement at the lower end of the scale”.

O’Reilly (32), of Donomore Avenue, Tallaght, was also sentenced to two years with the last 18 months suspended after Judge Hogan said he had “minimal involvement”.

Keogh (27), of Oliver Bond House, Dublin, was also sentenced to two years with the last 18 months suspended for “minimal involvement”.

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