Man jailed for involvement in 'Love Ulster' riots

A 29-year-old father of three who lost his job as a security man due to his involvement in the riot at last year's "Love Ulster Parade" has been sentenced to two years by Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

A 29-year-old father of three who lost his job as a security man due to his involvement in the riot at last year's "Love Ulster Parade" has been sentenced to two years by Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Mark Freer's photograph appeared on the front page of the "Star on Sunday" the day after the riot in a shot taken of a number of youths on O'Connell Street. His employer recognised him and reported him to gardaí.

Freer, of Russell View, Jobstown, pleaded guilty to violent disorder on February 25, 2006. Judge Katherine Delahunt suspended the last 12 months of the sentence on condition he enter into a good behaviour bond.

She heard Freer had covered his face with a 'tricolour' and threw missiles such as rocks, slabs, stones and barriers at gardai.

Detective Garda Peter Collins earlier told Noel Devitt BL, prosecuting, that Freer was arrested and questioned a month later and accepted that he had attended the parade in order to protest.

He agreed that he had thrown five or six missiles and accepted such action could have caused injury and did put people in fear.

Freer was shown various photographs and video footage of him with his fist raised and shouting and with a brick in his hand.

Sean Gillane BL, defending, said his client had no previous convictions and had become "enthusiastically involved" in what Mr Gillane described as an afternoon of "national and international shame".

Mr Gillane said Freer had intended to protest but was not an organiser of the riot and became unhappy when the incident "turned into widespread criminality such as looting and burning of cars".

He removed himself from the event when it became a "criminal rampage".

Mr Gillane said Freer was sacked from his job as a result but has since found work and felt remorse if innocent people or gardai were hurt on the day.

Mr Gillane said it was unusual and embarrassing to have to address the court in relation to a man of his client's age who had come before the court for the first time for something so serious and inexplicable.

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