Arson at Mountrath GAA club

19-year-old charged at Portlaoise District Court

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A group of youths drinking from early in the day broke into Mountrath GAA Club and started a fire as darkness fell, burning flags and chairs at the side of the pitch.

Arising from the incident, Codie Doheny (19), Kiln Lane, Mountrath, was yesterday (Thursday, July 6) charged with trespassing, and arson, at the Mountrath GAA Club, on July 16, 2016.

Inspector Maria Conway gave evidence at the district court that on that date, a group of youths entered the grounds of Mountrath GAA Club and set fire to a number of items.

Chairs, flags and tyres were all burnt, with €500 of damage caused.

Defence, Mr Declan Breen said that his client had been drinking earlier in the day and his group gravitated towards the GAA grounds, to which there was easy access.

As darkness was falling someone decided to light a small fire at the side of the pitch.

Mr Breen said his client accepted this was an awful thing to do.

Mr Breen said that Doheny had left school a year and a half ago and had been leading a very aimless life, going through an extremely bad patch between June and September of last year. He had been before the court on three occasions, most recently in the district court on May 4 where he was convicted of robbing the Mountrath community hall.

He was also before the recent circuit court, for his part in an attack on an off-duty garda in Mountrath.

“He’s in serious need of guidance,” said defence.

Judge Catherine Staines asked did the accused have €500 in court to pay for the damages, to which Mr Breen replied that he did not as he has to pay €1,000 compensation in the circuit court by November 28 and is currently on €100 per week social welfare.

Said the judge to the accused: “People work very hard to get these chairs and flags to help young people in sport. This is very unfair.”

Telling him that the money would eventually have to be paid, Judge Staines adjourned the matter to December 7, to await the finalisation of the circuit court case.

She also directed an up to date report on the accused for that date.