Teenager walks free after ‘savage and cowardly’ attack on vulnerable homeless man

Aaron Holland (19), of Templemore, Co Tipperary, was among ‘feral’ group of males roaming Limerick City, judge said

Aaron Holland was warned by Judge Tom O’Donnell at Limerick Circuit Criminal Court that had he had narrowly escaped prison. Photograph: Brendan Gleeson

A man who took part in a “savage” attack on a vulnerable man in Limerick City walked free from court after receiving a fully suspended two-year jail sentence.

The unprovoked attack carried out by Aaron Holland (19), of Marian Road, Templemore, Co Tipperary, and two other males was “absolutely and utterly appalling, and outrageous”, said the sentencing judge, Tom O’Donnell.

The judge said he was not imposing an immediate custodial sentence on Holland, because Holland had pleaded guilty early in the case, had no previous convictions, and was one of the youngest of the attackers.

“This was a savage and cowardly outing by the three people involved – it deserves a custodial sentence – but I take into account that the accused [Holland] has no previous convictions, and he has come forward on a signed guilty plea,” said Judge O’Donnell.


The judge said Holland was part of a “feral” group of males that was “roaming the streets” of Limerick City at around 5am on the morning in question.

The gang had “set upon” Declan Quinlivan, a 39-year old homeless man, who had been “minding his own business”.

Holland and the two other men kicked and punched Mr Quinlivan more than 100 times and robbed him of cash and a mobile phone, Limerick Circuit Criminal Court heard.

Mr Quinlivan could be heard begging the men, on CCTV footage that captured the attack: “Stop, please, please I beg ye, please stop.”

The gang continued kicking and punching Mr Quinlivan while he lay on the ground despite his pleas.

The attack happened at the junction of Wickham Street and Thomas Street, in Limerick City, on May 8th, 2022. The State accepted a guilty plea from Holland to one count of engaging in violent disorder.

At the time Holland was 17 and another of the group was 15, while the third was 20 years old.

They chased Mr Quinlivan before kicking and punching him 109 times.

During the CCTV footage of the attack, which lasted five minutes and was previously played in court, Mr Quinlivan was heard telling his attackers: “Take what ye want lads, but please stop beating me.”

The footage shows the males pausing briefly as a taxi passes, and then immediately resume the attack.

Although Mr Quinlivan was taken to University Hospital Limerick, no evidence of his injuries were disclosed in court, and he did not make a victim impact statement.

Imposing the two-year suspended sentence, Judge O’Donnell told Holland he did not want to see him before the court again: “Your conduct was outrageous, completely out of order, and unacceptable – you were a hair’s breadth [from] going to jail today – consider yourself a very lucky man.”