Youths sentenced to five years over detention centre rampage

Court told €3 million worth of damage caused to Oberstown facility

Three youths have been sentenced to five years in prison for their roles in an 11 hour long “rampage” at a detention centre during which a roof was set on fire and missiles were thrown at staff, gardaí­ and fire officers.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that €3 million worth of damage was caused to a unit at Oberstown Children Detention Campus as it was rendered unsafe and demolished. A further €500,000 worth of damage was caused to other units when inmates ransacked it, smashing televisions and windows.

The teenagers escaped from their bedrooms after threatening staff and demanding keys. Initially three youths were let out of their rooms before two further teenagers escaped when the windows of their rooms were smashed in and they were encouraged to get involved.

One staff member was injured when a door was pushed in on him leaving him needing stitches to his face.


The court heard that at one stage one of the youths was heard saying; “The rapist was in room one. Let’s burn the fucker out of his room”.


The teenagers all ultimately climbed onto the roof of one building and proceeded to smash up roof tiles which they then used as weapons to fire at staff, gardaí­ and later fire officers who arrived on the scene to put out a blaze they started.

Staff, fire officers and gardaí­, including officers in riot gear and garda negotiators all had to retreat from the situation because of the dangerous missiles being rained down on them by the accused.

There were serious concerns, not only for the professionals involved in trying to calm the situation but also the inmates themselves. There were genuine fears that if a teenager fell off the room he would be killed.

Clayton Brennan (18) of Dunawley Grove, Clondalkin, Dublin 22, Nathan Ginty (19) of Upper Carrowbeg, Westport, Co Mayo, and Luke Cronin (18) of Mount Saint Josephs Close, Bakers Road, Gurranabraher, Cork, pleaded guilty to arson, criminal damage and violent disorder at Oberstown on August 29th, 2016, although it was accepted that Cronin's plea was entered on the basis that he didn't actually start the fire but added fuel to it.

A 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named as he is still a juvenile pleaded guilty to the same charge. His case was adjourned further to May 30th, next.

Violent disorder

Jack Walsh (19) of Woodlawn Park, Ballysimon Rd, Limerick is the only one of the five who was not charged with arson. He pleaded guilty to violent disorder and two charges of criminal damage on the same date. His case was also adjourned to May 30th, next.

Ginty had 22 previous convictions and the 17-year-old also had 22 convictions. He was on remand at the time awaiting sentence for assault causing harm.

Cronin had convictions for offences including criminal damage while Walsh, who was serving a 12 month sentence for theft, had 45 previous convictions. Brennan had seven convictions and was on remand awaiting sentence at the time.

Judge Martin Nolan said the teenagers had destroyed or had tried to destroy an institution. "Four of them tried to burn the place down or at least set it on a fire".

He said they went on “a rampage” and caused significant damage. “It was a very frightening situation for everyone involved,” the judge said.

"They obviously broke the rules and disregarded the instruction from staff," Judge Nolan said before he accepted that all five were very young at the time and have expressed their remorse.