Man (61) charged with torching Luas tram during Dublin riots

Man (61) Charged With Torching Luas Tram During Dublin Riots
John Tate, with an address at The Iveagh Trust, Kevin Street in Dublin, is accused of two counts of arson on November 23rd. Photo: Collins Court
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Tom Tuite

A 61-year-old man has been charged with torching a Luas tram, which was burned out on O'Connell Street during a "mass riot" in Dublin last November.

John Tate, of Iveagh Trust, Kevin St, Dublin 8, is accused of two counts of arson, two counts of violent disorder, and obstructing traffic at Parnell Street and O'Connell Street on November 23rd.


He appeared before Judge Stephanie Coggans at Dublin District Court on Tuesday evening.

Detective Sergeant Eoghan Byrne told Judge Coggans the accused "made no reply" when he was charged at 3.15 pm at Store Street Garda station earlier on Tuesday.

Objecting to bail due to the seriousness of the case, the garda alleged that at 3.30pm on November 23rd, officers became aware of a protest at the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin city centre.

Protesters assembled near the scene of a knife attack which had taken place earlier that day, in which a number of people, including children, were injured.


Det Sgt Byrne said a series of criminal acts were carried out during the demonstration, which "quickly escalated into a mass riot". He described the events as an "unprecedented act of public disorder".

It was alleged Mr Tate "blocked" a Luas tram carrying passengers on O'Connell Street and caused it to come to a halt and reverse.

Det Sgt Byrne claimed Mr Tate also obstructed a bus carrying passengers, forcing it to stop.

The court heard the accused allegedly took part in violent disorder at the junction of Parnell Street and O'Connell Street, where he passed a garda cordon.



It was claimed Mr Tate "encouraged, led and directed" others to break the cordon and "aggressively approach" the crime scene.

The court heard he is accused of arson concerning a Luas tram on O'Connell Street by setting fire to rubbish bags, which quickly spread and caused "extensive damage".

The court heard Mr Tate approached the fire again and added further material to the blaze, causing it to spread and damage the tram and surrounding infrastructure.

Judge Coggans was told the accused, who did not address the court, allegedly threw missiles and tried to open the rear door of a Garda patrol van, causing officers to leave the area.


Detectives from Store Street Garda station harvested a large amount of CCTV, the court heard, and allegedly traced Mr Tate's movements for four hours, as he was wearing distinctive clothing.

Gardaí searched his home, recovered some clothes, and seized Mr Tate's mobile phone, which allegedly contained evidence, the judge was told.

Under cross-examination, Det Sgt Byrne told solicitor Cian McCann, defending, that the accused had strong ties to the jurisdiction, had lived most of his life in Dublin 8, and enjoyed the presumption of innocence.

The court also heard there is not yet any estimate of the value of damage caused by the actions alleged.

The judge set bail at €5,000, with stringent conditions, including that Mr Tate not attend demonstrations, obey a curfew, and refrain from "online activity".

The judge also ordered him to reside at his present address, surrender his passport and not apply for a replacement, and to provide gardaí with a phone number.

He was remanded in custody with consent to bail to appear again next Tuesday.

Legal aid was granted to Mr Tate, who is yet to indicate a plea.

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