Dalton Park rioters legal costs to be paid by State

More than two thirds of the defendants sent forward to the Circuit Court on charges relating to the Dalton Park riot will have their legal costs paid by the State.

Legal aid, including one junior counsel was certified for more than 50 of the 67 men, women, and children who appeared before Judge John Neilan at a marathon special court sitting on Monday.

Sixty-four men, one pregnant woman, and two teenage girls will appear before Mullingar Circuit Court sitting in Tullamore in December.

While the majority have addresses in Mullingar, others have addresses at Dunsink Lane in Finglas, in Navan, Portlaoise, Longford, and Cork.

All are charged with violent disorder arising out of the incident on July 29, an offence which on conviction can earn up to 10 years imprisonment.

A number also face charges of criminal damage, threatening behaviour and possession of articles with intent to cause injury.

Michael McDonagh (25 ) of 12 Northern Close, Belcamp, Coolock is charged with assault, threatening behaviour and refusal to comply with the direction of Gardaí at Mullingar Hospital on the same day.

The proceedings, which began at 11.30am finished after 9pm, when the last legal aid application was heard. A number of men had been asked to provide a statement of means and were questioned on this under oath before Judge Neilan decided whether to grant their application or refuse it.

A number were refused on the basis of having relatively new cars, some valued at between €13,000 and €18,000.

Two teenage girls were charged in relation to the offence in recent weeks. Their cases were held in camera and each was accompanied by a parent as their bail and other conditions were read out.

The first arrests arising out of the riot were made soon after the event with the eleven men appearing at Tullamore District Court on public order charges, less than a week after the incident which Garda Adrian O’Reilly of Mullingar Garda station said involved around 200 people.

Two of the men before the court at that time faced assault charges. Another had been charged with possession of a two-foot-long sword.

At the time they had been unable to explain to the presiding judge why they had not engaged in mediation talks although that option had been available.

One of those initial hearings in Tullamore heard that Gardaí had seized items used in the incident including golf clubs, samurai swords, petrol bombs and chainsaws, and garden implements.

Monday’s special sitting brings to an end the involvement of the District Court and Judge John Neilan in the violent disorder charge proceedings.

These charges will now be heard in the higher Circuit Court, where on conviction the maximum sentence which can be handed down is 10 years. 


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