Man appears in court charged with arson and violent disorder at Dublin riots

A man has appeared in court accused of setting a Luas tram on fire and breaching a Garda cordon around a crime scene on the night of the Dublin riots last November.

John Tate, 61, with an address at Iveagh Trust, Kevin Street in Dublin 8, appeared before the Dublin District Court on Tuesday charged with six offences relating to riots in the Irish capital on November 23.

The disorder broke out after three children and a care worker were injured in an attack outside a primary school and creche on Parnell Square East, for which a man has been charged and appeared before the courts.

Detective Sergeant Eoghan Byrne told the court on Tuesday that the Dublin riots were an “unprecedented act of public disorder” and “a series of criminal acts that quickly escalated into a mass riot”.

He said that the accused made no reply to the charges of violent disorder, of arson and of obstructing a Luas tram and bus.

It was alleged in court that Tate was the first person to break through the garda cordon at Parnell Square East, and that he “encouraged, led and directed” other persons to approach the crime scene outside Gaelscoil Cholaiste Mhuire.

It was also alleged that Tate set fire to a number of bags of rubbish and placed them on the Luas tram on O’Connell Street.

It is also alleged that Tate entered the Luas a second time and added material to the fire.

Tate is also charged with violent disorder on O’Connell Street, and it is alleged he threw missiles at gardai and tried to open the rear door of a garda van.

Tate is also facing two charges of obstructing traffic, which allegedly caused a travelling Luas to come to a stop, and allegedly caused a travelling bus to come to a stop, causing the driver to disembark.

Detective Sergeant Byrne told the court that Tate was wearing “very distinguishable clothing” on November 23, and that gardai have footage relating to the offences he is charged with.

The sergeant said that Tate’s mobile phone had been seized and searched.

Judge Stephanie Coggins granted Tate bail on certain conditions, which included a cash payment of 5,000 euro.

The conditions also include Tate signing on daily at his local Garda station, surrendering his passport, not taking part in any online activity, providing a phone number to Gardai within 48 hours, not to attending or participating in any demonstrations or protests, and abiding by a curfew of 9pm to 6am.

The judge described the alleged offences as “very serious charges arising from a very serious incident”.

Defence solicitor Cian McCann said he is not in a position to take up bail yet, and also made an application for legal aid.

Tate appeared in court on Tuesday wearing a black top and a black jacket.

He is next due to appear at the Criminal Courts of Justice on February 13.