The young man who killed Irish journalist Eugene Moloney in Dublin last year has been sent to prison for five-and-a-half years.

According to the BBC Gary Burch, 21, of Templeogue in County Dublin pleaded guilty to the unlawful killing of Moloney on June 24 2012. The last two years of Burch's sentence was suspended.

Moloney, who was 55 at the time of his death, was originally from County Donegal and began his journalism career at the Irish News in Belfast before moving to the Irish Independent in Dublin.

During his time at the Irish News he reported through some of the worst days of the Troubles in the 1970s and 1980s.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Burch had drunk ten bottles of beer and a couple of shots when he punched Moloney in the head.

After the verdict Moloney's brother urged an overhaul of prison sentences for violent attacks.

Sean Moloney said Irish society needed to look at the much too lenient sentences given for unprovoked street attacks, while parents needed to check their attitude to children's behaviour.

'It can't go on. It's neither fair nor right,' he said. 'We came here today to get justice for Eugene and the judge did her very best. She was clearly moved.

'When you looked at the other family you realise just what a sorry day it is for both families. Insofar as no amount of justice will bring our brother back, the other man's life is ruined.'

Burch, a trainee mechanic and former amateur boxer, will reportedly spend less than three years behind bars for the killing.

Journalist Eugene MoloneyIrish Independent