Sunday 25 August 2019

Eight youths accused of arson and causing €3.5m worth of damage during a stand-off at Oberstown

Oberstown Children's Detention Centre
Oberstown Children's Detention Centre

Tom Tuite

Eight youths are to face trial accused of arson and causing €3.5m worth of damage during a stand-off at the Oberstown detention campus for young offenders.

Seven of the teens, aged 17 and 18, appeared at the Dublin Children’s Court on Monday facing criminal damage, arson and violent disorder charges.

Five of them are from Dublin while the remaining three are from Co Limerick, Co Cork and Co Mayo.

It has been heard that the case is too serious to be heard in the juvenile court.

They are to be tried in the circuit court which has tougher sentencing powers and six of them had their cases adjourned for four weeks weeks to allow time for the Director of Public Prosecution to complete books of evidence.

Several units of the Dublin Fire Brigade were called out to fight a blaze at the detention in north Dublin when trouble broke on August 29 last year.

Gardai were also called out to help respond to the incidents which took place after inmates climbed onto a roof to stage a protest as staff at the centre were engaged in industrial action. The 48-bed facility in Lusk, in north Co Dublin is the State’s main detention centre for young people dealt with through the criminal justice system.

In an outline of allegations given in the case of a 17-year-old defendant, the Children’s Court was told that some of them got out of their units, released the others and they went onto the roof of a building throwing missiles.

A fire was started and €3.5m worth of damage was caused. One of the units at the campus was completely destroyed.

The eighth youth’s case was adjourned in his absence because he could not attend the hearing today having been detained in Castlerea Prison. A body warrant was issued for him to be brought before the court next week.

All of them are on bail on the charges before the court and most were accompanied to court by lawyers and family members. However, most of them remain in custody in connection with other charges.

They have not yet indicated how they will plead to the charges.

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