A judge has said that Dublin city centre is becoming an increasingly dangerous place for people to walk around at night.
Judge Melanie Greally made her comments when sentencing a young man for a violent and unprovoked attack on two men five years ago.
Kieran Comerford (22) of Blackhall Parade, Stoneybatter, Dublin was just 17 when he began an assault on two Brazilian men who were walking along the Luas line at Mary's Abbey in the city centre on February 17th, 2017.
Comerford later told gardaí that it was an act of drunken stupidness and he claimed that one of the men “had looked at him the wrong way and they had started sniggering”. He said that “in the heat of the moment” he got four more of his friends who were with him involved in the attack.
One of the victims described being punched around three or four times by the gang of men, which included two Dublin men in their 20s.
Comerford was identified on CCTV footage and after his arrest he told gardaí he had been drinking and he admitted punching and kicking one of the victims. In June 2021 he pleaded guilty to violent disorder.
Judge Greally said that this was a very frightening and cowardly assault. She said while there was no lasting physical harm to the victims, one of the men now considers his own security more carefully when going out at night.
“Unfortunately this is becoming a fact of life and Dublin city centre is becoming an increasingly dangerous place in which to circulate, particularly in the early hours of the house,” she said.
She noted the assault was one reason the other victim decided Ireland was no longer safe place to live and left Ireland the same year.
The judge noted that the majority of Comerford's previous convictions were committed when he was a juvenile and that he has had no significant offending since this assault.
She imposed a three-year prison sentence, but suspended it on strict conditions including that he keep the peace and be of good behaviour.
Two other men involved in the attack have also received suspended prison terms.