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Arsonist jailed for shop blaze in racist attack

A MAN who set fire to a shop after hurling racist abuse at staff has been jailed for six months.

William Dunne (50) was jailed after he was convicted of causing criminal damage to the store and a serious assault on a man at a Dublin hotel in a separate incident.

Judge Ann Watkin said the accused's experience of assault that had led to "his life going downhill" had not given him an insight into the effect of his behaviour on other people.

Dunne, currently of no fixed abode, but with previous addresses in Tallaght and city hostels, was convicted of a series of charges including assault causing harm, common assault, criminal damage, breach of the peace and offensive behaviour.

Dublin District Court heard he set fire to Londis at College Green on December 17, 2009. He also called staff "Muslim c***s and bastards".

He assaulted a man at the Skylon Hotel, Drumcondra Road, on January 22 last year and attacked a garda at Whitehall station when he was taken there on the same date.

Dunne said he had worked all his life and was "contributing to this country" until an incident in which he claimed he was assaulted by a security man.

In relation to the assault in the Skylon Hotel, the court heard he had entered a not guilty plea because he had suffered a blackout and claimed he could not remember the incident.

"This is a man who claims he has been assaulted himself, but he has very little insight into the fact that he has assaulted other people and his behaviour has affected other people's lives," Judge Watkin said.

Defence solicitor Jenny McGeever asked the judge to take into account the fact that the defendant had already spent six months in custody on the charges, which was a "considerable amount of time".

Judge Watkin said the accused had conceded that he had no memory of the incident and it was not a case where he had told lies in the witness box.