Teenager who admits causing fire at Forge Inn, Naas due to leave care soon

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Teenager who admits causing fire at Forge Inn, Naas due to leave care soon

The Forge Inn

Over €150,000 worth of damage, most of it caused by fire, was perpetrated to property in Naas during an eight day spell last March.

Before Naas Circuit Court today was a teenager who pleaded guilty to a total of ten allegations, principally arson and criminal damage between March 14 and March 21.

The youth, who cannot be identified because of his age, was 17 at the time and turns 18 shortly.

The most significant incident was a fire at the former pub known as the Forge Inn, a protected structure, on the evening of March 14 which caused an estimated €100,000 worth of damage.

Detective garda Christine Brady said on March 21 the defendant was found with a co-accused, who has not been dealt with.

There was a smell of smoke  from his hands and he was arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage.

Hitachi machinery, specifically a crane, deployed at the at the Mercy Convent School, Sallins Road,  was damaged causing €50,000 worth of damage including €10,000 worth to the windows. The crane cabin was set on fire. The court heard that the crane structure was climbed during this incident on March 19-20. 

The court heard that  €300 worth of damage was caused by breaking windows at the An Post premises into addition to €500 at Wesco, an electrical equipment enterprise, when bins were set on March 20.

At O’Connors pub windows were damaged (€230), and a roof light was damaged by fire (€1,570) at the Caspo centre. Three security cameras and window boxes were damaged at Naas Town Centre (€2,000), papers and magazines stored in a bin locker at Super Valu, Fairgreen Street, were set alight (€725).

The contents of three bins, the property of McCormack’s pub on South Main Street,  were set ablaze, causing damage to the tune of €120.

Det. Brady said CCTV footage was used in the investigation and the defendant made full admissions.

A cigarette lighter and a can of deodorant were used to start the fire at the crane, white spirits and a lighter were used to start the fire at the Caspo centre. They thought it would be funny to set fire to the bins near McCormack’s pub.

Prior to the start of the fire at the Forge Inn, they had been smoking and drinking and a cigarette landed on a t shirt, giving rise to the blaze.

She agreed that the defendant, who has no previous convictions, had a very difficult upbringing, has lived at a residential centre since 2016 and is in the care of the State.

The court was also told he had changed his name

Garda inspector Oliver Henry said the bail conditions set for the teenager in the run up to the court hearing amounted “almost to house arrest.”

He said he had done very well to comply with the conditions. He added that efforts have been made to try to secure some training for him and he has engaged with Youthreach.

The defendant has been diagnosed with obstructive behaviour disorder and ADHD.

“He’s very amenable and easy to speak to,” he said, adding that he had accepted responsibility for the incidents and expressed great regret.

When he attended school at a younger age he was very popular with staff and pupils.

The court was told that he leaves full time care on his 18th birthday and Judge Gerard Griffin said that the 20 hours a week care he has been offered after that date is “grossly insufficient.”

“Full time care should continue and I cannot order that,” added Judge Griffin.

He adjourned the case until Thursday to give the Health Service Executive and Túsla, the child and family agency, an opportunity to come with a plan for the care of the youth.