16-year-old sentenced to six-months for Jobstown protest

He is the first person to be jailed for his involvement in the incident

A 16-year-old boy has become the first person to be jailed in connection with the Jobstown protests, in which Joan Burton and her entourage were allegedly trapped in their car for hours.

The acting Tanaiste was attending a graduation ceremony at An Cosan education facility in Tallaght on November 15th 2014.

An anti-Irish Water demonstration was held outside which delayed her for about two hours.

Gardaí allege protesters surrounded the car, and there were a number of violent incidents during which officers were pushed and missiles thrown.

The boy, who was 15 at the time of the incident, appeared at the Dublin Children's Court with his mother and a grandparent.

He pleaded guilty to criminal damage to the rear window of unmarked Garda car which he jumped on, and violent disorder charges.

The court heard he has prior convictions for theft and has already served a sentence which expired in January for his other offences.

Finalising his case on Thursday Judge John O'Connor imposed a six-month detention sentence. The boy cannot be named because he is a minor.

It makes him the first person to be jailed in connection with the controversial protest which has led to more than 20 people including TD Paul Murphy coming before the courts.

Initially the boy expressed regret and in November he had shown a willingness to engage with the Probation Service. The judge had then told the boy, that if he continued to co-operate with the Probation Service to address his offending, he would be sentenced to a period of probation supervision. He had been warned that failure to do so would result in a custodial sentence.

However, since then the boy repeatedly refused to work with the Probation Service calling it “a load of bollocks”. He also picked up a new charge of unlawfully interfering with car in a Tallaght on February 11th 2013. He pleaded guilty to that, as well as connected breach of the peace and possessing gloves for use in a theft.

Judge John O'Connor had told the teen earlier that the purpose of violence towards women is to humiliate them and erode their dignity and violence directed at women in politics “is to limit their effectiveness in the political process, to alienate them and to state they are not welcome in politics”.

“It should also be pointed out that this particular attack on the elected Tánaiste of Ireland is an attack on the Irish State,” he had said, adding that it was also an attack on Gardaí who were protecting Joan Burton.

Defence solicitor Michelle Finan had said psychological and welfare assessments described the boy as “most vulnerable”. He required “therapeutic support but refused to engage” and had been hospitalised 14 times in the last two years with serious injuries.

The solicitor had said the boy “got caught up in the excitement of what was going and lost the run of himself”.

In a report, welfare stated he had “significant emotional and behavioural difficulties” prompting mental health concerns. Judge O'Connor had said the teen's other issues included: negative peers, anti-social incidents, involvement with pro-criminal gangs and drug issues.

Paul Murphy TD and 18 other people from Dublin are awaiting Circuit Court trial. They face a variety of charges which include false imprisonment, violent disorder and criminal damage to Garda cars.

Five other juvenile males have been before the Children's Court in connection with the protest.