November 1, 2013

Two young Letterkenny men have been jailed for their part in a riot on a local housing estate in which more than €10,000 of damage was caused.

The scene hours after the riot at Thornberry

The scene hours after the riot at Thornberry with lockers thrown out the window of the house

Martin McClelland, 23, and Eddie McLaughlin, 21, were part of a group of people who barricaded themselves into a house at The Green, Thornberry.

Gardai were called after landlord Peter O’Donnell was assaulted in the early hours of October 13th, 2011.

Mr O’Donnell visited the house after neighbours complained of noise but when he arrived he was assaulted.

He contacted Gardai but when they arrived, they found a group of young people locked into the house.

When Gardai tried to gain entry they were forced to run for cover when they were pelted with bottles, cans and pieces of furniture.

Furniture was thrown out onto the street

Furniture was thrown out onto the street

One man hung dangerously from a window of the upstairs part of the three storey dwelling.

Up to 20 Gardai using shields and riot gear eventually gained entry to the premises.

Inside they found thirteen people including three females, one of whom was a juvenile.

Letterkenny Circuit Court heard yesterday how both men had previous convictions for public order offences.

McClelland, who was only released from prison in the summer after serving two years, has 40 previous convictions.

However the court heard that the father-of-one from Manor View, Letterkenny, started a cookery course in prison and is now attending the Killybegs College of Catering.

McLaughlin, who had seven previous convictions, told the court he was sorry for his part in the riot and his barrister pleaded for one last chance for his client.

Judge John O’Hagan said it was very lucky that none of the Gardai carrying out their duty were injured in what became a riot situation.

He said he had been asked to give the men a last chance but stated they have already had them.

He sentenced McLaughlin to 18 months in prison and also gave McLelland the same sentence but suspended the last three months because of his efforts in returning to college.