Dessie O’Hare jailed for seven years for assault and false imprisonment

Judge says violent side of personality of ‘Border Fox’ is source of continuing concern

Dessie O’Hare was jailed for three years for assault and 10 years with three suspended for false imprisonment. The sentences are to run concurrently. File photograph: Collins Courts

Dessie O’Hare was jailed for three years for assault and 10 years with three suspended for false imprisonment. The sentences are to run concurrently. File photograph: Collins Courts


Former INLA man and kidnapper Dessie O’Hare has been sentenced to ten years in prison with three years suspended for false imprisonment and assault.

O’Hare (62), of Slate Rock Road, Newtownhamilton, Co Armagh, pleaded guilty on January 14th last to falsely imprisoning Martin Byrne at Rathcoole and Saggart on June 9th, 2015. He also pleaded guilty to assaulting John Roche, causing him harm, at The Towers, Garter Lane, Saggart, Co Dublin on the same date.

O’Hare was jailed on Thursday for three years for assaulting Mr Roche and 10 years with three suspended for the rest of his life for falsely imprisoning Mr Byrne. The sentences are to run concurrently.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt said O’Hare - known as “The Border Fox” from his republican activities - had an “appalling record” of violence. It was also clear to the court O’Hare had been “the front man in the enterprise” with convicted murderer and fellow INLA figure Declan “Whacker” Duffy.

Mr Justice Hunt added “the violent side of O’Hare’s personality was not in remission” and the threat he posed to society “had not abated”. He was guilty of “serious and premeditated” violence, the impact of which on his victims was clear from their “disturbing” victim impact statements.

The Special Criminal Court was told last week by a Garda witness that when O’Hare (62) was interviewed by gardaí about the violent eviction he was part of in 2015 he claimed he was working for businessman Jim Mansfield jnr on the day in question. Mr Mansfield has denied the claims.

The man who was being evicted, Martin Byrne, had worked for Mr Mansfield’s father, the hotelier and developer Jim Mansfield snr, for almost two decades.

Mr Byrne and his family went into the witness protection programme and remained in it almost four years after the attack, the court heard.

Mr Byrne lived in two units with his wife and children at The Towers apartments, Garter Lane, Saggart, Co Dublin.

The non-jury court heard a dispute had arisen between Mr Mansfield jnr and unnamed persons over control over The Towers apartments, which were in a renovated stables.

In May, 2015, Mr Mansfield jnr asked Mr Byrne to accompany him to meet “two businessmen” at an industrial estate. When they went to the meeting it became clear they were meeting O’Hare and fellow INLA figure Duffy. Mr Byrne left the meeting when he saw who the men were.

The following month, June 2015, the court was told Mr Byrne was contacted again by Mr Mansfield and he reluctantly agreed to accompany him to another meeting. O’Hare was again present with Duffy. When Mr Mansfield jnr left the room, five other men came in and Mr Byrne was prevented from leaving.

The seven men told Mr Byrne that he was being brought back to The Towers apartment block and that he and his wife and three children were being removed from the two units they occupied.

Mr Byrne was placed into a vehicle with some of the men and beaten as the men, with Mr Byrne as their hostage, drove in a three-car convoy back to The Towers. Mr Byrne was assaulted and a resident of the apartments, John Roche, was also assaulted after refusing to let the convoy of vehicles in.

The group attack left Mr Roche’s arm and nose broken and saw him sustain bruising and cuts on his head, face, arms and elsewhere. It was recorded on CCTV which was shown to the court.

O’Hare gave little reaction before he was led away by prison officers.