Three Dublin men have been sentenced to between three and five years in prison for their part in a vicious city centre attack on two US tourists who had tried to stop a robbery.

Garth and Patrick Russell were attacked with bottles and tried to hail taxis to escape their attackers. However, the drivers did not stop.

Judge Pat McCartan said the three attackers, Ian Dent, Aidan Finnegan and Richard Fish, were out prowling the Temple Bar area of Dublin with no real aim and not dressed for the evening.

They tried to rob a man who was lying on the ground, but the Russell brothers, who had only arrived in Dublin that day, intervened and were subsequently attacked and left with horrific injuries.

The three convicted men, who each have between eight and 69 previous convictions, including convictions for violent disorder, have never been sent to prison before.

The judge said they have been down the well-worn path of the juvenile justice system, which was not capable of dealing with them.

He criticised the system as being inadequately resourced and incapable of dealing with violent young men.

Judge McCartan said they had all previously been given non-custodial sentences including probation, community service, suspended sentences and fines.

He said this issue is a recurring feature of the courts and needs to be considered by the legislature.

Judge McCartan said today was the day they would graduate out of an overly-protective system and go to prison.

Dent, 21, from Stanaway Road in Crumlin, was sentenced to five years in prison.

Finnegan, 28, from Reuben Street, Rialto, was sentenced to four years in prison.

Fish, a 24-year-old father-of-two, from St Anthony's Road, Rialto was sentenced to three years in prison.