Five years for throwing petrol bombs

It seems the Irish courts have made it clear that throwing petrol bombs at Garda officers will be dealt with sternly. A 19-year-old man who pleaded guilty to throwing a petrol bomb that set two officers alight during riots at the Love Ulster parade has been jailed for five years at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Ciaran Maguire from Finglas pleaded guilty to violent disorder and endangerment but Judge Desmond Hogan said the offences were “pre-meditated” and said the gardaí were “organs of the state there to protect Irish citizens and were doing their job on the day in a difficult situation.”

“How can someone throw petrol bombs at some one else and not realise the consequences?” asked Judge Hogan who said he saw no reason to suspend any portion of the sentence.

From a personal point of view, this seems quite a long sentence, especially for someone so young who also pleaded guilty to the offence.

  • Ziznivy

    5 years for throwing petrol bombs at the Garda, whilst its the PSNI’s fault for “provoking” Republicans when the same is done to them.

    Feck it. I’m not getting angry today. The final is much more important.

  • Prince Eoghan

    George. I’d agree!

    The Irish state seems to be sending out a clear message here, probably to several audiences. Punish by all means but 5 years is a long time.

    BTW. how does the system work in terms of remission for good behaviour etc.?

  • George

    Prince Eoghan,
    I think it’s one quarter remission with the usual good behaviour requirement.

  • páid


    IMO 5 years, or 4 years, is about right for throwing a lighted bottle of petrol at anyone.

  • “IMO 5 years, or 4 years, is about right for throwing a lighted bottle of petrol at anyone.”

    Hear, hear; and that goes for whether you threw it from north or south of the border.

  • Ginfizz

    I agree with Beano and Paid – he should serve a minimum of 5 yrs for this offence. He could have killed someone.

  • Glensman

    Seems very heavy handed to me, he’s just a lad and he pleaded guilty. It’s not as if he was the only one there.

  • lib2016

    I hope the ‘get tough’ policy extends to those morons who petrol bomb property with no regard to whether or not it is occupied.

    Rioting is rioting whichever side of the political fence one is on. There is no defence for it under present circumstances.

  • Ginfizz

    Age is an irrelevance once he passes the age of 18. He went there with the intention of causing affray and hurling these bombs. He got what he deserved, even if Love Ulster was annoying they did not merit that level of antagonism.

  • Ginfizz

    “There is no defence for it under present circumstances.”

    A nice insight into SF morality there.

  • pith

    “He’s just a lad”. Hardly.

  • Pounder

    Glensman, imagine how you’d feel if you where the person who had the petrol bomb thrown at you, if if it was a member of your family just doing his or her job. Say what you want about the idea of an united Ireland, but Dublin based judges seem to have more balls to do whats right.

  • Ginfizz

    I’m surprised the Shinners haven’t put out a statement describing the sentence as “petty and vindictive” and calling for the British govt to bring pressure to bear on the anti-Republican Republican Courts System.

  • Kloot

    IMO 5 years, or 4 years, is about right for throwing a lighted bottle of petrol at anyone

    Agreed. Sends the proper message. He is an Adult and deserves to be treated as such

  • sevenmagpies

    “Punish by all means but 5 years is a long time.”

    Perhaps decades of petrol bombings have simply made them seem less serious as a form of attack?

    Imagine the offence involved was pouring petrol over someone and then setting them on fire. Would five years seem too long?

  • Kloot

    Where are the rest of the prosecutions coming out of the crap that went on that day

  • Niall

    The same court system gave a guy a three-year suspended sentence for rape last month. The sentence was only activated after he flicked a cigarette at the victim.

    In this light giving a teenager who pleaded guilty a five-year sentence seems excessive. I’m not defending him – he’s obviously a scumbag – but he had no prior convictions, expressed remorse and pleaded guilty early on. Does he deserve to serve more time than a rapist?

    He’s only going to be worse when he gets out.

  • Ulster McNulty

    He deserves harsh punishment, but put into perspective – – this seems too harsh compared to what other people have got away with (possibly based on the class system south of the border)

  • Doctor Who

    “From a personal point of view, this seems quite a long sentence, especially for someone so young who also pleaded guilty to the offence.”

    As you well know the ROI take very seriously crimes against the Garda, only until quite recently the murder of garda officers was a capital offence.

    George, at nineteen you are fully aware that by throwing a petrol bomb at someone you can kill. This hooligan did throw a petrol bomb and set two Garda officers alight. Where is the problem.

    Comparing this to other sentences only shows the inconsistency in the justice system. This judge should be applauded for getting it right.

    Hopfully the prison sentence will ensure that he won´t do it agian.

  • Ulster McNulty

    “Comparing this to other sentences only shows the inconsistency in the justice system”

    That’s the point – it isn’t a justice system if it’s inconsistent (remember those scales). What you have here probably isn’t justice, even if he does deserve 5 years.

  • Puzzled Jackeen

    For one thing, it doesn’t take rocket science to know that throwing a petrol bomb at anyone can scar them horrifically, even killing them.

    I don’t have a problem with five years for throwing a petrol bomb at people – I do have a problem with the Club Annabel case where they got off so lightly.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Read the story. He didn’t throw “a” petrol bomb. He threw three, all at Gardai, and brought along another two. He pleaded guilty as a result of being photographed doing it, it’s not as if he turned himself in as an act of remorse. He’s lucky he wasn’t charged with attempted murder.

  • Oranges for Sale

    I remember telling a Canadian friend about some the Drumcree riots a few years back, and they were totally shocked at the scale of the disturbances as well as the number of petrol bombs thrown over a 7 day period.

    Lets face it guys, after almost forty years of this, we have all become completely desensitized to most forms of violence. Five years is is perfectly acceptable for throwing a petrol bomb, especially if you live in a normal city or anywhere else outside Northern Ireland.

  • joeCanuck

    “He’s lucky he wasn’t charged with attempted murder.”

    Such a charge would have led to an aquittal. For murder or attempted murder, you have to prove intent, which is not so easy as showing a photo of him throwing a petrol bomb.

    I think the sentence was too harsh or, at least, a proportion of it should have been suspended.

  • Jimmy Sands

    I think attempted murder would have been a stretch, but had he not pleaded guilty he could well have faced it. I think trying to burn any human being alive, let alone a police officer, merits something more than a slap on the wrist. I don’t see the slightest mitigation here.

  • Aquifer

    Yes we indulge our local street sadists. When the riot squad are called they rarely expect to arrest anyone. Maybe paperwork is not one of their strengths.

  • McGrath

    FFS: I propose a public berching to go with the 5 year sentence. Give me a fucking break, throwing a petrol bomb is OK because it happens a lot?

  • Shore Road Resident

    It’s the degree of premeditation here, admitted by the defendant, which is really bears thinking about – preparing petrol bombs, bringing them in on a bus, stashing the equipment around the city centre then reassmbling it and handing the petrol bombs out. That’s quite a level of determination.
    Impressive justice from the south, should give unionists pause for thought.

  • If a few five year sentences were handed out to the vermin who make life a misery for people living on interfaces in Belfast every summer, it would knock the nonsense out of some eejits.

  • BogExile

    My father, a died in the wool Unionist, used to look at the extrordinary restraint of RUC officers during riots standing absorbing countless petrol, nail, blast and acid bombs (from both sides) in the troubles and mutter darkly, ‘send in the Guards.’

    Sadly, the first instict of Republican bloggers in this instance appears to be to look for any mitigation or context which defuses the impact. Perhaps there is still a residual romamce to ‘resistance’ by molotov cocktail?? I’ve been hit by a petrol bomb. It’s not fucking romantic. The scumbags North and South are also desensitised to violence – why not? – they’ve had a convenient moral ‘get out’ clause by pretending that trying to kill their fellow Irishmen in uniform up here is a legitimate form of resistence/recreation condoned and often encouraged by their political representatives.

    I would have put the fucker to work in a hospital burns unit for 5 years. Much better investment – much better return.

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>Sadly, the first instict of Republican bloggers in this instance appears to be to look for any mitigation or context which defuses the impact.<

  • BogExile

    Sorry, Prince you are the very honourable exception 🙂

  • De Sade

    Fuck him. It was attempted murder. He sould have done at least 10 to 15.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Have to say I’m surprised to find myself lining up alongside the hangers and floggers for perhaps the first time in my life.

    It has been pointed out that the Irish justice system has a long-standing record of dealing severely with those who attack Gardai. It’s essential that this should be the case.

    One of the most courageous and impressive things the first Free State government in the 1920s did was to disarm An Garda Siochana, making it the first unarmed police force in Irish history. To be honest, at the time, it was a huge gamble, but one that paid off, and Ireland is much the better for it.

    The trade-off is that the courts protect the Guards like a mother defends her first-born. It’s only right and proper. The price for having unarmed police officers is that, if you attack a cop, you’re gonna be in big, big trouble. It’s a price well worth paying.