There were dramatic scenes in Naas town centre when the courthouse was temporarily evacuated on Tuesday, February 25.
It happened following an assault on a prisoner in a holding cell and a minor fire at around 2pm.
The drama unfolded on Wednesday afternoon as the Circuit Court - which deals with more serious matters than the regular District Court - was sitting with Judge Michael O’Shea presiding on the first day of the current session.
Some sixteen prisoners were being held by members of the Prison Service staff in basements cells waiting to be brought up individually or in small groups for their cases.
A disturbance arose among some of that group and a Garda spokesman told the Leader that they attempted to rush the door and set fire to some newspaper in the cell.
Although the court was suspended briefly it re-convened later and a case was heard as an operation to take the prisoners one by one from the cells got underway outside. A force of gardai remained in place at the side of the court building while this was done and no vehicles were allowed on to Basin Street from South Main Street or Abbey Street. There is a back entrance to the court buildings from Basin Street.
“The incident was contained in the basement cells and while one prisoner was assaulted and treated in hospital his injuries were not serious. The incident caused an amount of confusion and all available gardai were brought to the scene. At all times our priority was the safety of the prisoners, prison officers and gardai at the scene,” a Garda spokesman said. Having left the cells the detainees were conveyed back to prison by van. Apart from the assault on the prisoner, a prison officer was affected by smoke inhalation.